Fresh turmoil for Scottish Labour as general secretary Brian Roy resigns

Posted On: 
9th August 2019

Scottish Labour has been plunged into fresh turmoil after the party's general secretary resigned.

Brian Roy with former Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale in 2017.
PA Images

Brian Roy broke the news to stunned staff at the party's Glasgow HQ on Friday morning.

His decision to quit after five years at the helm comes at the end of a week in which civil war erupted after John McDonnell declared a Labour government would not try to block a second Scottish independence referendum.

Labour splits erupt as MSPs accuse John McDonnell of 'undermining' independence policy

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John McDonnell: Labour would not block another Scottish independence referendum

The comments were a break with official party policy and put him at odds with Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard, who said they would not back "indyref2" earlier this year.

Mr Leonard then re-iterated his position following talks with the Shadow Chancellor, while Labour MSPs at the Scottish Parliament issued a statement condemning the party's UK leadership. 

However, Labour insiders insisted Mr Roy's departure had nothing to do with the row.

The outgoing general secretary, the son of former Labour MP Frank Roy, said: "After 12 years working for the Labour Party, under four UK Labour leaders and seven Scottish leaders, it is time for me to move on to new challenges.

"Having been at the very centre of Scottish Labour during the most turbulent political times, I have worked hard to unite the party, drive our campaigns forward, develop and diversify our candidates, and modernise our campaign machine.

"It has been a privilege to work with Labour Prime Ministers and a Labour First Minister, with many leaders in between, and I sincerely wish Richard Leonard and Jeremy Corbyn the very best as they prepare to win again as a party of government."

Jeremy Corbyn said: "Brian Roy’s experience and knowledge has been invaluable to Scottish Labour, and to me personally, and I thank him for his dedication to our party and our movement.

“Brian is Labour through and through, and his charity cycle ride for Palestine is a great example of his commitment to international solidarity and justice."

However, Labour sources insisted there had been friction between Mr Roy and the party's UK leadership and that he had been effectively forced out by allies of Mr Corbyn.

A Scottish Labour source told PoliticsHome: "Nobody has worked harder for Scottish Labour than Brian Roy. Those who have been trying to force him out will quickly discover the monumental error they have made.

"It’s a sad moment for our party. With the Corbyn project now calling the shots in Scotland, this is the final piece in the jigsaw for their complete takeover of Scottish Labour."