Ken Macintosh would move Labour HQ to Edinburgh

Scottish Labour leadership contender Ken Macintosh. Picture: Robert Perry
Scottish Labour leadership contender Ken Macintosh. Picture: Robert Perry
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LABOUR leadership hopeful Ken Macintosh will today unveil plans to relocate the party’s headquarters to Edinburgh as part of a radical reorganisation plan.

At the official launch of his campaign to take over the helm of Scottish Labour, he is due to declare his intention to end “machine politics” and hand the party “back to the members”.

Mr Macintosh, MSP for Eastwood, is in a head-to-head contest with Lothian MSP Kezia Dugdale to succeed Jim Murphy, who stepped down in the wake of Labour’s massive defeat at the general election.

Mr Macintosh said: “I am the change candidate. I want to change the party to help us win again.

“I will be moving the headquarters to Edinburgh because that’s the new centre of political focus in Scotland.

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“However, it’s not to centralise power, far from it. I want a devolved structure and we’re going to set up eight regional organisations reflecting the regional lists in Scotland.

“I want the Scottish Labour party to be fully autonomous but still part of the UK Labour Party.

“But I want, within that, control of the party to be passed back to the members.

“What I’m trying to do is end the control of the party machine, move away from power politics, embrace the principles of devolution in modern politics and the whole idea of sharing power with the people of Scotland.

“I want to open up to the voluntary sector and the private sector and broaden our appeal to all sectors and to all places within Scotland.”

He said he also wanted to target young voters. “I want to have particular appeal to the young and boost our online presence, so if your main access is through tablet or phone the Scottish Labour Party is accessible to you.”

And he had further ideas to take Labour away from “the machine politics of the past”.

He said: “I want the party chair to be automatically in the shadow cabinet so the party members have a representative in the shadow cabinet. I want a representative of local government in the shadow cabinet.

“I want the policy process opened up so party conference would be less of a rally, back to more of a discursive forum where we can agree – or even disagree – and members can feel they have their say in a far more open and transparent way.”

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com