SCOTTISH Labour MSP James Kelly has quit, urging Scotland’s labour leader Richard Leonard to resign or face a huge loss to the SNP.
A senior member of Richard Leonard’s shadow cabinet told Mr Leonard he had failed to turn around the party’s fortunes and his “poor ratings” would produce a “catastrophic result”.
James Kelly, who was his party’s justice spokesperson, resigned on Tuesday night after saying Leonard had not taken the party forward.
In a brutal resignation letter, Kelly said: “I have no confidence in your ability to shape the party’s message, strategy and organisation. I know that this is a view shared by other parliamentarians, party members and indeed many members of the public.”
Leonard said: “It is deeply disappointing that disgruntled MSPs who never supported my leadership would choose the day when the Scottish Government finally accepted a Labour policy demand of ten years – for a National Care Service – to try and wage an internal war.”
Mr Kelly had led a group of Scottish Labour members against the party’s leader.
The push against Mr Leonard comes after recent polls suggested the pro-independence Scottish National Party is set for majority at next year’s elections in Scotland.
Despite this, Labour’s shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds said last week it would be “completely inappropriate” for Labour’s Westminster wing to call for the leader’s resignation.
Ms Dodds said she thought the leader had been working “very effectively”.
She added: “Richard Leonard was elected three years ago by a significant majority of Labour Party members in Scotland.”
UK Labour leader Sir Kier Starmer has also previously backed Mr Leonard, calling him “the right man to lead us into those elections.”
However, a YouGov poll in mid-August found SNP is on course for a comfortable majority in Scotland.
It suggested the SNP would secure 57 percent of votes in constituencies, with the Conservatives trailing on 20 percent and Labour on just 14 percent.
READ: Scottish Labour defies Kier Starmer as it opposes second independence referendum
In addition, the poll also found a small majority – 53 percent – supported Scottish independence.
SNP Deputy Leader Keith Brown told the Daily Record: “It is now the established majority view in Scotland that we should be an independent country.
“Prolonging any attempt to stop people from having their say over their future is undemocratic, unsustainable and runs the risk of public opinion in Scotland turning even more sharply against the Prime Minister.”
Mr Leonard became leader of the Scottish Labour party in 2017 after defeating Anas Sanwar.
Scotland’s Conservative party has also faced turmoil within its ranks in recent weeks.
The Tory party’s Scottish leader Jackson Carlaw resigned at the end of July after stating he would not be able to effectively persuade people to vote for the party.
His sudden resignation came less than half a year after he was elected.
Mr Carlaw said he thought “a new leader will be able, as we recover from the COVID-19 emergency, to make the case for the Scottish Conservatives and the union better than me.”
Sources within the party had said senior Scottish conservatives had become concerned Mr Carlaw’s lack of opposition to SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon’s policies.