LONDON (Reuters) – The opposition Labour party has elected former cabinet minister Jim Murphy as its new leader in Scotland, five months before a national election in which the party faces a tough battle to retain its Scottish seats to win power in Britain.
Murphy, who was the favourite to win, became well-known for his soap box brand of pro-union patriotism during September’s referendum on independence, which Scottish nationalists lost. The former Secretary of State for Scotland, will be tasked with rejuvenating Labour north of the border as it faces a tough battle to reconnect with voters who are increasingly turning away from the party.
One opinion poll in October showed Labour would see its tally of Scottish lawmakers in the British parliament fall from 41 to just four out of a total of 59, as support for the nationalist SNP surges ahead of national polls due by May 2015.
Centre-left Labour is in opposition in Britain’s national parliament, led by a coalition of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. Scotland’s own assembly is dominated by the separatist Scottish National Party