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The next Scottish Labour leader... Tom Harris MP?

By Matthew Barrett
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HarrisTom The BBC is reporting that Scottish Labour MP Tom Harris "has stated his interest in becoming the new Labour leader in Scotland.". Harris is firmly on the centre-left, and was one of Labour's star bloggers before leaving the blogosphere last year. He also stood, unsuccessfully, for the Shadow Cabinet elections after Ed Miliband became leader of the Labour Party late last year. 

The Scottish Labour leadership election has, so far, failed to look particularly professional, and this seems to be one of the reasons for Harris' entry into the race. The Scotsman has more details:

"Mr Harris, speaking on the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme today, said he had put his name forward because of the lack of candidates to emerge from Labour's ranks at the Scottish Parliament.

He said: "The reason I have allowed my name to be mentioned in the speculation about this is purely and simply because we lost in May, Iain Gray announced he was standing down in September, which is next week, and I don't even know if that's going ahead."

Mr Harris added: "I am raising the possibility - the very slim possibility of my candidacy - because there are ideas that I have that I think the party should at least be debating, because by the time the next Scottish Parliament elections come up in 2016, we need to know what type of party Scottish Labour will be.""

Harris' move is an interesting one, because it perfectly highlights one of the contributing factors to Labour's major loss in May: most of Labour's competent Scottish politicians choose to represent Westminster seats, rather than Scottish Parliament seats. Mr Harris is taking the opposite route to that of politicians like Douglas Alexander, Alistair Darling, and Jim Murphy.

Back in his blogging days, Harris always offered original and independent thought. Today, he has written for WalesHome, comparing Scottish and Welsh Labour. He calls Labour's performance in the May Holyrood election "a comprehensive and humiliating defeat". The Scottish Labour leadership election just became interesting.