Leadership rivals get key roles in Labour shake-up

The new Scottish Shadow Cabinet outside the Scottish Parliament. Pic: Steven Scott Taylor/JP Press License
The new Scottish Shadow Cabinet outside the Scottish Parliament. Pic: Steven Scott Taylor/JP Press License
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LOTHIAN’S two defeated candidates in the Labour leadership contest have been given key roles in Jim Murphy’s new shadow cabinet.

Neil Findlay and Sarah Boyack were handed new jobs in an “all change” shake-up of portfolios.

Mr Findlay gives up his shadow health post and becomes spokesman for fair work, skills and training.

And Ms Boyack moves from local government to rural affairs, food and environment.

As reported yesterday, East Lothian MP Iain Gray moves from finance to education. He takes on that role from newly-elected deputy leader, Lothian MSP Kezia Dugdale, who is left free to concentrate on standing in as Holyrood leader until Mr Murphy is elected as an MSP.

Other key appointments include Hugh Henry as justice spokesman, Jackie Baillie covering finance and Jenny Marra with the health remit.

Mr Findlay said of his new post: “It provides a great opportunity to pursue a number of the policies I spoke about during the leadership election – how we eradicate youth unemployment, how we deal with insecurity at work and low pay and get people back to work.

“These were the key issued raised during the campaign and this role gives us an opportunity to set out a very clear Labour agenda on these issues.”

And despite them coming from different wings of the party, Mr Findlay – who is firmly on the left – said he had no hesitation in accepting the invitation to be part of Mr Murphy’s team.

He said: “From the moment I came into the parliament, I have been happy to take on roles for whoever has asked me to do them and I will always be someone who contributes. I’m a Labour man through and through, I will do what I can to ensure we get back to our winning ways.”

Ms Boyack said she was “very pleased” with her portfolio.

She has held the environment brief before, but she said: “Quite a lot has happened since then. The whole climate change agenda has moved on.”

She added: “It’s great to be still in the team and I very much look forward to playing my part in the campaign up to the 2015 election.”

Mr Murphy said the reshuffle was a radical shake-up with no-one staying in the job they had.

He said: “I want everybody to make a fresh start, so they can be bold and radical about how we change Scotland.

“I want every single member to take Scottish Labour’s positive vision for Scotland around the country.”

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com