Labour's leader in Scotland quits

Kezia Dugdale with Jeremy Corbyn

Alex Rowley has become interim leader of the Scottish Labour Party, following Kezia Dugdale's resignation.

In a statement issued nearly as soon as Rowley's new role was announced, Unite's Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said: "The party is now rebuilding in Scotland and is rightly seen as the opponent of the mindless austerity of the Conservative party".

They said: "Kez is the third Scottish Labour leader to be forced out by men, it is sadder than sad".

He said: "Kezia became Scottish leader at one of the most hard times in the history of the Scottish Labour party and the party's revival is now fully under way, with six new MPs and many more to come".

General Secretary of the Scottish Labour Party Brian Roy meanwhile, said: "Over the coming weeks the Scottish Executive Committee of the Labour Party will decide the process and timetable for a leadership election".

The decision by Kezia Dugdale to stand down as leader of the Scottish Labour party has come as a surprise to the party's local branch.

Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn arrives at BAWA Sports and Leisure Centre in Bristol, Britain August 11, 2017.

He said the Corbynite supporters will have no choice but to de-select MPs as "if there was a snap election and Corbyn became leader, he'd be the leader of a party the majority of whom don't support and wouldn't support the policies he wants to implement".

"It has been an honour and a privilege to have served this party in a leadership position for the last two and a half years, covering four national elections and one referendum", she wrote in her resignation letter.

To recap a little, Kezia Dugdale was critical of Jeremy Corbyn when he first assumed the UK Labour leadership and when he faced a challenge for that post.

The news that he is likely to put his hat in the ring comes hours after another key figure in the party MSP Neil Findlay, who organised Corbyn's leadership campaigns in Scotland, announced he would not stand in the contest.

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Dugdale's period in charge has coincided with some turbulence in her private life, however.

It was clear that Dugdale wanted to leave on her own terms, despite previously saying that she meant to stay on as leader past the 2021 Scottish Parliament election.

With Holyrood about to return from its summer recess and with a full four years to go until the next Scottish Parliament election, she felt that leaving now would allow the next leader time to settle in. "I care deeply about the Labour Party - I love it and I have devoted my adult life to serving it".

"I choose to stand down because I believe it is best for me and best for Scottish Labour, at a time when we can be positive and optimistic about our future".

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wished her well for the future, writing on Twitter: "We may be opponents, but @kezdugdale led her party with guts and determination and I admired her for that".

Other potential candidates include former deputy leader Anas Sarwar, as well as the party's business manager at Holyrood, James Kelly, and former interim leader Jackie Baillie, who are all seen as being more centrist than Mr Rowley, Mr Findlay and Mr Leonard.

Aikman died, aged 31, of motor neurone disease in February. She made a decision to stay, albeit briefly.

Doing their sums, the CfS concluded that the Scottish strategy, under the control of Ms Dugdale, had cost the party seats.

Mr Rowley, now deputy leader of the party, has taken on the interim leadership, but he won't be part of the contest to find her successor.

In her resignation statement, she explained that Mr Aitkman's death had taught her about how to live and "never wasting a moment".

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