Labour’s problems north of the border as yet another candidate ruled himself out as a leadership contender. Acting leader Anas Sawar said he would not seek the nomination for the vacancy created when Johann Lamont resigned claiming her party “knew nothing about Scotland”.
Scottish Labour used to dominate Scottish politics and currently have 41 MPs, but recent opinion polls suggest this will halve at next years general election. The party have struggled to counter the surge of the Scottish National Party, which has quadrupled its membership since last months referendum.
Lamont resigned on Friday claiming that London was treating Scottish Labour as a “branch office”. Her attack was widely seen as a thinly veiled attack on the leadership style of Ed Miliband, and was quickly followed up by attacks from two former Labour Scottish First Ministers. Lord (Jack) McConnell said Miliband had questions to answer about the resignation, whilst Henry McLeish, claimed the party faced problems of “historic, epic proportions”.
Labour insiders told Breitbart London they had hoped former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown would run for the leadership, but he ruled himself out yesterday. He was credited with saving the Better Together campaign, when support for the UK began to tumble. Brown also remains a respected figure in Scotland, despite his poor reputation in the rest of the country.
Now Brown and Sawar have both decided not to put their names forward suggests the position is seen as a ‘poisoned chalice’ by credible Labour figures.
There are still a number of names in frame, including Jim Murphy, Kezia Dugdale, Douglas Alexander and Jenny Marra. But these candidates may still refuse to run if they feel they will be told what to do by London. Also anyone taking on the role would risk leading their party to an unprecedented, and potentially unavoidable, wipe-out.
On Friday Ms Lamont told Sky News: “Colleagues need to realise that the focus of Scottish politics is now Holyrood, not Westminster.
“There is a danger of Scottish politics being between two sets of dinosaurs… the nationalists who can’t accept they were rejected by the people, and some colleagues at Westminster who think nothing has changed.”
The outgoing SNP First Minister Alex Salmond has been widely credited with putting Labour’s dominance at risk. He demanded Ed Miliband make a statement about what is going on in Scottish Labour, which he described as a “meltdown”.
An opinion poll on 19th October put the Conservatives ahead of Labour in Scotland. If Cameron’s party does beat Labour in the general election this would be the first time they have done so since the 1950s.