Labour pressed over lack of leadership candidates

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By a Newsnet reporter

The SNP has described as a “debacle” the continuing delay over Labour’s Scottish leadership contest.

With the Scottish parliament due to resume next week the nationalists have described the lack of volunteers to replace Iain Gray as an “embarrassment” and a “shambles”.

Mr Gray announced his intention to stand down immediately after his party’s disastrous performance in May’s Scottish election.  However there is still no sign of a replacement almost four months on.

With no evident successor and the review by Jim Murphy and Sarah Boyack still not having outlined a clear plan, there is speculation that a London based MP will be chosen to lead the party north of the border.

Speaking yesterday, James Dornan, SNP MSP for Glasgow Cathcart, said:

“Even though the Scottish Labour shadow cabinet meets today, I’m still not convinced the party will announce a new leader.

“A week today Alex Salmond will deliver the Government’s programme for the next year.  Who will set out Labour’s plans?

“The shambolic way this has been handled highlights that Labour has no direction or leadership and is being torn apart by divisions within the party.”

Former Labour First Minister Henry McLeish has argued that the party in Scotland needs to be led by a Holyrood based MSP, however MP Tom Harris believes that a Westminster MP has to take control.

Mr Dornan added:

“Some want leadership from Westminster, others want an MSP.  With senior Labour members saying something different every day I can hardly keep up with what direction the party is going in.”