Jeremy Corbyn leads tributes as Kezia Dugdale quits as Scottish Labour leader
Jeremy Corbyn has praised Kezia Dugdale's "tireless service" after she stunned politics by standing down as Scottish Labour leader.
The party's UK-wide boss said Ms Dugdale had played a key role in "rebuilding the party in Scotland" during her two years in charge.
PoliticsHome reported late last night that Ms Dugdale had written to Scottish Labour chair Linda Stewart informing her of her decision to stand down.
She said: "Too often our leaders leave in a crisis, with scores to settle. 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."
In a statement, Mr Corbyn said: "I'd like to thank Kezia Dugdale for her work as Scottish Labour leader and the important role she has played in rebuilding the party in Scotland.
“Kezia became Scottish leader at one of the most difficult times in the history of the Scottish Labour Party, and the party's revival is now fully under way, with six new MPs and many more to come.
“I want to thank Kez for her tireless service to our party and movement, and look forward to campaigning with her in future for a country that works for the many not the few.”
Labour MPs and Ms Dugdale's political opponents also paid tribute to the departing leader.
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.
But speaking to the BBC, Ms Dugdale denied she had been forced out by her internal opponents.
"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," she said.
"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."