Woman elected new Scottish Labour leader
Summary of story from BBC News, December 17, 2011.
Johann Lamont, member of the Scottish parliament (MSP), has been elected as the new Scottish Labour leader, pledging to “make Labour Scotland’s party once again”.
The former Scottish minister warned supporters the party must reach out to people, rather than put its own interests first.
Lamont replaces Iain Gray, who decided to quit the job after the landslide election victory by the Scottish National Party in May.
Previously, the role of Scottish Labour leader was limited to leading the Labour MSP group at Holyrood (where the Scottish parliament is based), but the scope of the position has now been expanded, meaning Lamont takes charge of the whole of the party in Scotland, effectively distancing the party north of the border from Westminster.
Delivering her victory speech in Edinburgh, Lamont, the MSP for Glasgow Pollok, said: “I want to change Scotland, but the only way we can change Scotland is by changing the Scottish Labour Party.”
The 54-year-old former teacher said “nothing would be off limits”.
She added: “Our one test will be what is in the interest of the people of Scotland, not what’s in the interest of ourselves.”
Lamont told her colleagues the public perception of Scottish Labour had been one of “a tired old politics machine which was more about itself than it was about them”.
She added: “The task now is to make Labour Scotland’s party again.”
Turning to the Scottish National Party government and its planned independence referendum in the second half of the current Scottish parliamentary term, Lamont said: “They should get on with it. Waiting is holding Scotland back.”