Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn takes message to Edinburgh

Jeremy Corbyn speaks at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre yesterday. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor
Jeremy Corbyn speaks at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre yesterday. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor
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HE is the man tipped to bring Labour back to the left in the UK and as Scotland’s new Labour leader is announced this morning, the dynamic that lies ahead is certain to be interesting.

Hundreds packed into the latest campaign event for UK Labour leadership frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn in the city yesterday ahead of the Scottish result.

And former deputy leader Kezia Dugdale, 33, and second-time hopeful Ken Macintosh, 53, awaited the result on who would wear the Labour crown this side of the Border.

The result of the UK contest will be announced at a special conference on September 12 but Mr Corbyn is the clear frontrunner so far.

He told hundreds of supporters in Edinburgh: “I learnt about the four horsemen of the apocalypse, only three have arrived so far.

“We have had the Budget, welfare reform . . . and the Trade Union Reform Bill.”

He highlighted his own ten-point plan, as it became very clear he is forging a path to work alongside the next Scottish leader, speaking to one of the most vital heartlands.

The MP said his plans include opposition to austerity, action on climate change and a fair, funded NHS.

Earlier this week Ms Dugdale made a clear U-turn on her opinion of Mr Corbyn, saying she and he were part of the same Labour “family”. Previously, she had suggested in an interview that Mr Corbyn was not prime ministerial material and if the left-winger was successful, Labour would be left “carping on the sidelines”.

However she then stated that she was looking forward to meeting with him in Scotland as he stepped up a campaign to win over Scots.

Mr Corbyn continued to drive a message of anti-austerity, stating a need for Scotland to unite with England to end cut-backs.

“These things are not easy, these things are possible and they can be achieved but they are not going to be achieved by politicians in isolation handing down policies from secluded drawing rooms in secluded and comfortable parts of this country.

“They are going to be achieved by ordinary people coming together, in the spirit of those who founded our movement . . . all of us, in other words.”

Mr Corbyn’s campaign visit to Scotland, which has already taken in events in Aberdeen and Dundee, comes as he leads the polls as voting opens in the UK.

Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper are also standing in the contest.

Whoever gains Scotland’s Labour crown today will face a huge task to rebuild support in the former heartlands.

Lothians MSP Ms Dugdale said: “If I win this election it will be a clear signal of a new generation ready to take Scottish Labour forward.

“The role of the next leader is to set out a positive Labour vision for transforming Scotland and to hold the SNP government to account for their major failings on schools, the NHS and policing.”

newsen@edinburghnews.com