Statement from Anas Sarwar, Interim Leader of the Scottish Labour Party.
I can confirm that I am not seeking nomination to be Leader of the Scottish Labour Party.
There is a crucial job to be done in this interim period. For the last 3 years it has been my priority to keep the UK family together; in this coming period I am clear that we will keep the Scottish Labour family together.
My focus as interim leader has to be on coming through this process with a Scottish Labour Party unified in purpose, stronger in will, speaking out and standing up for the individuals, families and communities who need a Labour Party in Government, delivering on their priorities.
Of course, there will be a focus on ensuring the process to elect a new leader is done in a smooth but robust manner.
But I also have 3 priorities over this period:
- To ensure that we deliver on the pledge to strengthen the Scottish Parliament through the Smith Commission.
- To continue to hold both governments to account who I believe are failing the people of Scotland as we see inequality on the rise, child poverty increasing, our NHS in crisis and college places being decimated.
- To build towards the general election so we can help return a Labour government and a Labour Prime Minister so we can get the real change our nation needs.
It is not my intention to publicly declare support for any candidate. That would be wrong in my role as Interim Leader.
Rather, I will be fulfilling my responsibility to the members who elected me, asking the same questions of candidates as I am sure they will be.
Firstly, how as leader do they intend to deepen the involvement of party members, trade unionists and the wider movement in their policy development process.
Secondly, how do they intend to use the collective talents of our MSPs, MPs, MEPs and councillors to continue to hold the SNP and Tories to account.
And, thirdly, how do they intend to use the powers the Scottish Parliament has, and the new powers it is guaranteed, to tackle the rising levels of poverty and inequality being visited on the Scottish people by the Tory and SNP governments.