New Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale vows to rebuild the party


Scottish Labour's new leader Kezia Dugdale will undertake her first engagement as head of the party when she campaigns in Edinburgh today.

Ms Dugdale was yesterday announced as leader of the party after beating Holyrood veteran Ken Macintosh in a leadership election sparked by the resignation of former MP Jim Murphy shortly after Labour's near wipeout in Scotland in the general election.

She won 72.1% of the vote, while Mr Macintosh was backed by 27.9%.

Ms Dugdale has pledged to work ''day and night'' to rebuild the party ahead of the Scottish elections next year, with polling for that ballot putting the SNP on course to win another majority at Holyrood.

Today she will join shadow Scottish Secretary Ian Murray, Edinburgh Southern candidate Daniel Johnson and activists for a campaign street event on the Meadows near the centre of Edinburgh.

Speaking after her election, Ms Dugdale said she had a message for voters across Scotland.

''Take another look at the Scottish Labour Party,'' she said.

''I am not so presumptuous as to ask instantly for your vote, but in the recent election 700,000 of you stuck with us, but many of you chose someone else.

''All I ask is that you take a fresh look at the Scottish Labour Party under my leadership.

''We are changing. I am part of the new generation, someone without the baggage of the past.''

She added: ''I want to transform this country, to shake it up profoundly, so that the life chances of a child born today aren't determined by how much their parents earn, but by their potential, by their work ethic, and by their ambition.''

Ms Dugdale said she would be making an announcement on her shadow cabinet appointments next week, and she will also seek new people to stand as Labour candidates in the 2016 Holyrood elections.

Labour's new deputy leader was also announced at the event in Stirling yesterday, with Alex Rowley beating fellow MSP Richard Baker and Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson.

Harriet Harman, interim leader of the Labour Party, yesterday said the new leadership team face ''the historic task of rebuilding our party in Scotland, reconnecting Labour with the people of Scotland and re-energising the links between our party in Scotland, Wales and England''.