Former top Corbyn aide joins Richard Leonard's campaign to be Scottish Labour leader

Posted On: 
8th September 2017

A former top aide to Jeremy Corbyn has joined Richard Leonard's campaign to be the new leader of Scottish Labour.

Anas Sarwar (second left) and Richard Leonard (centre) are going head-to-head for the Scottish Labour leadership
PA Images

In a major coup, Simon Fletcher will help Mr Leonard's in his bid to defeat Anas Sarwar and succeed Kezia Dugdale in the top job.

Ms Dugdale stunned politics last month when she surprisingly resigned after just two years in the role.

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Mr Fletcher rose to prominence as chief of staff to Ken Livingstone when the left-winger was Mayor of London.

The hugely-respected official led Mr Corbyn's campaign to become Labour leader in 2015, and rose to become the party leader's Director of Campaigns and Planning.

However, he quit in February amid claims he had become disillusioned by the party's direction.

At the time, Mr Corbyn said: "Simon has played a vital role in shaping the new politics and building Labour’s campaign to rebuild and transform Britain.

"I’ve know Simon for many years, we will continue to work together on the cause of social justice in Britain and I wish him well in the future.”

Mr Leonard said: "I can confirm that Simon is joining my leadership campaign team. He brings a wealth of experience which will help give the campaign real organisational strength and direction. I am delighted he is joining us."

The battle to be Scottish Labour leader is significant for the UK party as the winner will claim a seat on its ruling national executive council.

The key decision-making body is currently finely-balanced between moderates and the party's left-wing, but a victory for Mr Leonard will tip it in Mr Corbyn's favour.