Scottish Labour 'holding Jeremy Corbyn back', claim left-wing activists

Posted On: 
21st July 2017

Scottish Labour prevented Jeremy Corbyn from delivering an even better result at the general election, according to a group of left-wing party members.

Jeremy Corbyn and Kezia Dugdale in Scotland in February
Credit: 
PA Images

A report by the Scottish Labour Campaign for Socialism said "change is needed" for the party to improve on its return of seven MPs at the next election.

It claimed Scottish Labour's strategy of attacking the SNP's calls for a second independence referendum had "almost silenced" Mr Corbyn's socialist message.

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The group also accused the party of having a "Better Together" mindset - a reference to the pro-Union campaign in the 2014 Scottish referendum which saw Labour and the Tories join forces.

In their report, the Campaign for Socialism - which is headed pro-Corbyn Labour MSP Neil Findlay - said 21 of the 24 seats where Labour's vote did not increase at the election were in Scotland.

They also said the average increase in the Labour vote in Scotland was 550 per seat, compared to 5,883 across the U.K.

A spokesman said: "While it’s great we won some seats back, it’s clear that the campaign here failed to deliver.

"While elsewhere we seen people being enthused by ‘for the many, not the few’ we concentrated on the dispiriting, visionless ‘send Nicola a message’ - and paid a price for that, coming third in votes and seats for the first time in a century.

"In Scotland we looked more like [Blairite former Cabinet minister] Jim Murphy’s Labour Party than Jeremy Corbyn’s – and that isn’t a good look.

"We need to change – but that’s more about changing emphasis than leadership. Jeremy has put Labour on the path to government across the UK – because 'for the many – not the few' is a message that resonates, it’s one that Scottish Labour needs to send.”

'DIDN'T GET THE MEMO'

But a Scottish Labour spokesman dismissed the criticism.

He said: “The overwhelming majority of Scottish Labour members are united behind our vision for a Scotland that is part of a United Kingdom which works for the many, not the few.

“Scottish Labour ran a positive pro-UK, anti-austerity campaign that highlighted how we would improve the lives of people across Scotland. That dual message directly led to six gains for the Labour Party.

“The voters sent a strong message to Nicola Sturgeon and Theresa May, and Scottish Labour remains on an election footing as we aim to make significant further electoral gains."

A senior Scottish Labour source pointed out that the report's author, Lesley Brennan, had come third behind the Conservatives in Dundee East.

The source added: "The Campaign for Socialism clearly didn't get Jeremy's memo about the need for unity as we try to oust the Tories.