Will Edinburgh South MP Ian Murray be the next deputy leader of the Labour Party?

Calls grow for Scotland's only Labour MP to get number two role

Sunday, 22nd December 2019, 4:00 pm
Ian Murray defended Edinburgh South with an 11,000 majority this month

EDINBURGH South MP Ian Murray has fuelled speculation he will join the race to be the next deputy leader of the Labour Party.

Speculation has been building among party insiders that Mr Murray - Scotland’s only Labour MP - will stand after the party’s general election meltdown.

Mr Murray, who secured a majority of over 11,000 earlier this month, responded by talking up his credentials for the number two role but stopped short of confirming any candidacy.

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“I’ve been inundated with colleagues suggesting I should stand,” he told the Evening News yesterday.

“There are a huge amount of issues around the constitution in terms of where Scotland lies within the UK Labour Party. The referenda both of Scottish independence and Brexit are top of the agenda.

“Experience of these issues and someone who is able to build a large coalition of supporters for the Labour Party is work I’ve done in my constituency for a long time.”

Mr Murray said he plans to consider over Christmas what effect standing for deputy leader will have on family, friends and his constituency before making a decision in the New Year.

“It’s pure speculation, nobody has declared yet,” he added: “I’m definitely not ruling it out but I’m also not ruling it in.

“Just getting on the ballot paper is hugely difficult. It’s not a cheap process and you have to raise a considerable amount of money just to be in the running.”

The man who successfully led the No campaign in the 2014 independence referendum has endorsed Mr Murray for the deputy role.

Former Labour strategist Blair McDougall said Mr Murray should stand for the role vacated by Tom Watson as it would remind voters “we were the party that saved the Union”.

Mr McDougall said: “There’s a feeling after the Scottish party was thrown under a bus by the UK leadership, that someone needs to educate the UK party of the reality of Scottish politics.

“Ian would be brilliant. He knows how to win and is a great politician.

“It would also be good to have someone there reminding people we were the party that saved the Union.”