Alexander named Labour leader

Alexander lays out four reforms
Alexander lays out four reforms

Wendy Alexander has become the leader of the Scottish Labour party after a rumoured left-wing challenge failed to materialise.

After emerging as the sole candidate in the leadership race, Ms Alexander was today formally named the first female leader of the Scottish Labour party - and the fourth since devolution.

The former enterprise minister secured nominations from 41 of Labour's 46 MSPs.

The Campaign for Socialism, which had been planning to field a left-wing challenger, failed to obtain the necessary six signatures to make it onto a ballot paper.

Ms Alexander takes over from Jack McConnell who stood down soon after losing power to the Scottish National Party.

Accepting the leadership nomination, Ms Alexander said the party needed reforming to reconnect with Scottish voters.

At a press conference in Stirling, the MSP for Paisley North said: "When I put my name forward to succeed Jack McConnell, I said we needed a period of reflection during which we could reform our party, renew our policies and reconnect with the people of Scotland.

"It's important to me that Labour is seen as a party for all of Scotland, and by taking the time to visit all the regions and listening to their views, we can start to put together a new policy portfolio that will speak for all of our country, not just one part of it."

She continued: "I've no doubt we need to reform our party to build an organisation that will bring forward policies in tune with the ambitions and demands of the people of Scotland."

Ms Alexander's policy reforms will focus on four areas: A competitive and compassionate economy, consumer-focused public services, empowering people and communities and developing "Scottish solutions for Scottish aspirations".

She is scheduled to appear across Scotland to put forward her policy areas before formally taking up the post next month.

Procedures committee Secretary Lesley Quinn said today: "I am delighted MSPs have rallied around Wendy Alexander for leader and as Labour sets out its vision to stand up for Scotland's communities over the coming weeks, Wendy Alexander will undertake a series of engagements with Labour members.

"With Wendy Alexander as candidate for leader, Labour will prove it is the party for hard working families, with opportunity for young people at the centre of what we do."

Ms Alexander has served in the Scottish Executive since devolution in 1999 and has long been tipped as a potential leader.


Politics @ Lunch

Friday lunchtime. Your Inbox. It's a date.