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Johann Lamont MSP elected new Scottish Labour Party leader

By Matthew Barrett
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Lamont JohannJohann Lamont MSP has today been named the new leader of the Scottish Labour Party.

Ms Lamont, who represents Glasgow Pollok in the Scottish Parliament, was backed by 27 members of the party's MSP, MP and MEP group, and 12 unions and affiliated organisations, including Unison.

Ms Lamont has served as a Deputy Justice Minister, Deputy Minister for Communities, Scottish Labour Chairwoman, and had served as an MSP since the Scottish Parliament was created. She was also the Deputy Leader of the Scottish MSPs group until her election today. As for her views, this extract from a BBC report is instructive:

"Her commitment to equality brought out the former history teacher's rebellious side in the early days of devolution, when she became the first Labour MSP to urge ministers to withdraw a move to block Scottish Socialist MSP Tommy Sheridan's bill to abolish poindings and warrant sales."

The role of Scottish Labour leader is now more powerful than ever before because it means leading the entire Scottish party, as opposed to simply being in charge of the Labour MSPs in the Scottish Parliament. This change in role came about as a result of a review into Scottish Labour's organisation conducted following their defeat to the SNP earlier this year. Ms Lamont was the Deputy Leader of the Labour MSPs group until elected to this new position.

The full result was:
  • Johann Lamont MSP: 51.77%
  • Ken Macintosh MSP: 40.28%
  • Tom Harris MP: 7.95%

Some concerns have been raised about a possible repeat of Ed Miliband's victory situation in this election. Lamont won 21% of the union vote, and her closest rival, Ken Macintosh MSP won 8%. However, Macintosh won 17% of the members' vote, and Lamont won only 12%. As in the British Labour Party, the favoured candidate of proper Labour members was defeated by the favoured union candidate. 

Also announced today was the new deputy leader of Scottish Labour. Glasgow Central MP, Anas Sarwar was elected to the position.