Labour’s Kezia Dugdale vows to be “anti-establishment voice”

Kezia Dugdale launches her leadership campaign in Portobello last month. Picture: Toby Williams

Kezia Dugdale launches her leadership campaign in Portobello last month. Picture: Toby Williams

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LOTHIAN MSP Kezia Dugdale will today promise to “shake things up” and be the “anti-establishment voice” if she is elected leader of the Scottish Labour Party.

Ahead of the official launch of her campaign in Edinburgh, she said Scotland needed a strong opposition as never before.

Ms Dugdale said that with 56 out of 59 MPs and the government of Scotland coming from just one party it was clear the country needed a loud voice to stand up against vested interests.

And she insisted she would say the things too many politicians were scared to say.

She said: “We have a second term Tory government that now has a majority and nothing standing in its way.

“We have a SNP government that has been in office for more than eight years and a First Minister who was elected to the Scottish Parliament more than 15 years ago.

“We have institutions in this country that have become cosy with the status quo, even if they long ago ceased to deliver what’s best for the people of Scotland.

“If I am elected leader I won’t stand for business as usual just because it’s 
inconvenient to say otherwise. I’m going to shake things up.

“Nothing will stand in the way of me tearing down the barriers that stop people fulfilling their potential.”

She said under her leadership no-one would be in any doubt what the Labour Party stood for or who it stood with.

“Whether that’s women facing discrimination, parents whose kids need more support or a patient at the end of their tether because they can’t get the treatment they need from the NHS, I will speak up and speak out, no matter how unpopular it may be with those in the establishment it will upset.

“It won’t always be easy and it won’t always be popular, but I’m going to say the things too many people are scared to say in politics.”

Ms Dugdale faces a straight fight with fellow MSP Ken Macintosh to become Scottish Labour leader following Jim Murphy’s decision to stand down after the massive election defeat.

She said: “Now more than ever Scotland needs a voice that will stand up to the vested interests. Scotland needs a strong opposition that asks tough questions, not a one-party state where every institution and every cause is linked to just one political party.

“That wouldn’t be good for Scotland. People need a champion against the cosy consensus in Scottish politics. I will be the anti-establishment voice Scottish society needs.”

When nominations closed yesterday, Ms Dugdale and Mr Macintosh were confirmed as the only candidates for leader.

The deputy leadership will be a three-cornered contest between Glasgow city council leader Gordon Matheson, Cowdenbeath MSP Alex Rowley and North East MSP Richard Baker.