Gordon Brown: Independence calls from SNP are ‘out of touch’
Mr Leonard, who held the position since November 2017, announced yesterday he was stepping down with immediate effect as he felt it was “in the best interests of the party”. His departure leaves the party looking for its fifth leader in the last seven years. But George Galloway, a former Labour MP, said ex-Prime Minister Mr Brown could be the perfect candidate to take the job and fight First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s independence bid ahead of the Scottish elections in May.
He wrote on Twitter: “I have known Gordon Brown 45 years.
“Labour is not my party.
“Making him Scottish Labour leader would be the biggest single thing the party could do to rescue Scotland from the perdition of perpetual SNP rule, the Neverendum, and could save Britain.
“Do it Gordon.”
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Many social media users were quick to back Mr Galloway’s comments, as they detailed how Mr Brown could be the “SNP’s nightmare”.
One person wrote: “Gordon Brown becoming next Scottish Labour leader would be the SNP’s nightmare.
“For that reason, I would be happy if the rumour is true.”
Another Twitter user praised Mr Brown for being a “decent guy”.
They said: “He is head and shoulders above the lot of them and a decent guy into the bargain.”
A third user simply added the former Prime Minister was the “best man for the job”.
They said: “If he is up for the job he is definitely the best man for the job.”
Andrew Adonis, Labour member of the House of Lords, also tipped the former Prime Minister to step up to lead Labour in Scotland.
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He said: “The best leader of the Labour Party in Scotland would be Gordon Brown.”
Mr Brown was Prime Minister and Leader of the Labour Party from 2007 to 2010 after taking over from Tony Blair.
He previously spoke against Scottish independence in 2014, the same year the referendum saw 55 percent of voters reject breaking away from the rest of the UK.
He said to Scottish voters at the time: “This is a decision from which there is no going back. This is a decision when once it’s done, it’s done.
Indyref2: Richard Leonard outlines Scottish Labour’s position
“And so I say I have to vote and take account of the needs of my children and future generations and the future of our country in centuries to come.”
Meanwhile, a Procedures Committee has been formed and will have its first meeting tomorrow to oversee the election of Mr Leonard’s successor.
Labour’s Scottish Executive Committee will also meet in the coming days to agree a timetable for the process.
MSP Jackie Baillie, who was Scottish Labour’s deputy leader, will take charge of the party on an interim basis.
She said Labour would face the “fight of our lives” in the upcoming Scottish Parliament election campaign.
Ms Baillie said: “I thank Richard for his service to our party and his genuine commitment to the values we all hold dear.
“Scottish Labour has set the agenda for Scotland’s recovery from the pandemic, forcing the SNP government to commit to a National Care Service and a youth jobs guarantee.”
She added: “We face the fight of our lives in the run-up to the 2021 Scottish Parliament elections.
“But as we fight for every vote and seat, we will come together to hold the SNP and Tories to account for their record of failure.”
Last September, Mr Leonard insisted he would lead Scottish Labour into May’s election, despite party MSPs James Kelly, Daniel Johnson and Jenny Marra all speaking out publicly against him.
But he said yesterday: “I have thought long and hard over the Christmas period about what this crisis means, and the approach Scottish Labour takes to help tackle it.
“I have also considered what the speculation about my leadership does to our ability to get Labour’s message across. This has become a distraction.
“I have come to the conclusion it is in the best interests of the party that I step aside as leader of Scottish Labour with immediate effect.
“This was not an easy decision, but after three years I feel it is the right one for me and for the party.”
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