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Kezia Dugdale quits as Scottish Labour leader in major shock

Kezia Dugdale quits as Scottish Labour leader in major shock
2 min read

Kezia Dugdale has quit as leader of the Scottish Labour party.

In a major shock, she informed party chair Linda Stewart of her decision in a letter today.

She said the party needed "a new leader with fresh energy, drive and a new mandate" to take it into the next Holyrood elections in 2021.

"Too often our leaders leave in a crisis, with scores to settle," she said. "I love this party too much for that to be my way. There will be no press conference and no off the record briefing in my name.

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

Ms Dugdale took over as Scottish Labour leader from Jim Murphy in 2015, at a time when the party was at its lowest ebb in the face of the SNP surge.

However, Labour exceeded expectations in the general election, gaining six seats as the Nationalists suffered major setbacks across  Scotland.

Ms Dugdale was also also among those who called on Jeremy Corbyn to quit as UK Labour leader a year ago, and her relationship with him has been strained as a result.

Party sources accused Mr Corbyn's supporters of forcing her out. One told PoliticsHome: "Labour has had three women leaders in Scotland and all have been forced out by men - this time by Neil Findlay and (deputy Scottish leader) Alex Rowley."

Mr Findlay - a close ally of Mr Corbyn - is an early frontrunner to succeed Ms Dugdale, with Anas Sarwar and Richard Leonard other names in the frame.

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