Sophie Wilkinson | Contributing Editor | Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Scottish Labour Leader Quits Role. Will A Woman Replace Her Now?

Scottish Labour Leader Quits Role. Will A Woman Replace Her Now?

The Debrief: Kezia Dugdale is arguably one of Labour's most senior women. But will she be replaced by a woman, or a man?

Sometimes it’s easy to look at MPs and wonder how on earth they manage being MPs with being humans. Even more so when those MPs are women, who face so much abuse online and a lot of harassment offline, and have the double bind of having to do right by themselves but also do right by every other woman at the same time. All while in the right clothes!

Well, Kezia Dugdale, leader of Scotland Labour has stood down from the role, explaining that she wants someone with ‘fresh energy, drive and a new mandate’ to come in. There’s an election for Scottish MPs (MSPs) coming up in 2021, and she wants them to have the ‘time and space’ for her successor to ace it.

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She told the BBC that after devoting ‘every waking moment of my life’ to making Labour have a better go of it in Scotland (where traditional Labour supporters had previously flocked to the Scottish National Party), ‘I have thought long and hard about this. I care deeply about the Labour Party - I love it and I have devoted my adult life to serving it in a number of different capacities.

‘And I have just come to the conclusion that the best thing for it, the Labour Party, this precious, precious thing that has done so much good in our country, and indeed for me, is to pass that baton on.’

Tributes to Kezia, who has zero bad stuff to say about Labour despite the criticism she’s received from far-left supporters of Jeremy Corbyn - who she’s been unafraid to criticise herself - poured in.

Corbyn himself said thanks to Kezia for ‘the important role she has played in rebuilding the party in Scotland’, meanwhile Ed Miliband said: ‘Thank You. You deserve to get your life back. Enjoy’

As for Harriet Harman, the ex-cabinet minister who recently spoke out about Labour’s lack of promotion for women? She made one demand of Kezia’s replacement:

One interesting factor which is literally only interesting in light of the fact that her Labour colleague Laura Pidcock recently said she wouldn’t be friends with any Tories, is that Kezia’s girlfriend (she’s one of a very welcome proliferation of LGBT Scottish politicians) is Jenny Filruth, MSP for the Scottish National Party. Luckily for any potential dinner party guests, Kezia will remain an MSP for Labour, so there’ll be no shortage of interesting political debates going on between the pair!

You might also be interested in:

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Should There Be Another Scottish Independence Referendum?

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

Tags: Politics