Richard Leonard named new Scottish Labour leader to succeed Kezia Dugdale

Rebecca Smith
Leonard's success was announced in Glasgow
Leonard's success was announced in Glasgow (Source: Getty)

Scottish Labour has announced Richard Leonard as its new party leader today, who takes over from Kezia Dugdale.

Party members were faced with the choice between the left-wing Central Scotland MSP Leonard, and centrist Anas Sarwar.

The vote had a 62.3 per cent turnout, with Leonard taking a 56.7 per cent share and Sarwar on 43.3 per cent.

Read more: Kezia Dugdale quits as Scottish Labour leader

The election marks a significant defeat for the party's centrists, with a move aligning Scottish Labour more with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, as until now, Scottish Labour had been opting for centrist candidates.

Interim leader Alex Rowley left the role last week amid claims of misconduct.

"I totally refute these allegations and will take all steps necessary to clear my name," Rowley said.

"These allegations must be properly and thoroughly investigated in line with our party's procedures - and I will refer myself to the party so such an investigation can take place.

"While that investigation is carried out, I will step aside as deputy leader, as well as interim leader, of the Scottish Labour party."

In August, Kezia Dugdale stepped down as leader after taking up the role in August 2015.

Dugdale said at the time that the party needed a candidate who can bring "fresh energy, drive and a new mandate" to the party, and added that her successor needs "space and time" to prepare for the next Scottish Parliament election in 2021.

But, she has stirred up mixed views over her decision to take part on the ITV reality show I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.

Scottish Labour MSP Jenny Marra tweeted yesterday: "Election to parliament is a privilege to serve and represent people. It's not a shortcut to celebrity."

Dugdale has said she will donate her MSP salary to charity while she is on the programme.

Read more: Scottish Labour's leader steps aside amid claims of misconduct

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