Ken Macintosh made it official on Friday, when he launched his leadership campaign as the candidate to “change Scottish Labour”.
After months of refusing to confirm whether or not he intended to stand, Mr Macintosh threw himself head first into the race at a press conference in Cumbernauld college last week.
The Eastwood MSP thinks it can only be a good thing for the constituency.
He told The Extra: “Local people expect ambitious, capable representatives.
“Of course it will be a challenge to juggle high office with constituency matters, but Jim Murphy has already shown how well it can be done and I will be able to fulfil both roles effectively.
“First and foremost I am an Eastwood MSP, however, if Labour do not change and become more positive, we will consign ourselves to steady decline and years of opposition”.
Jackson Carlaw — the Conservative candidate defeated by Mr Macintosh at the last election — has had his campaign for leadership of the Scottish Tories interrupted by emergency surgery to remove his appendix.
After five days in hospital, Mr Carlaw was released on Tuesday, having made a full and speedy recovery.
The West of Scotland MSP expects to be back on the job by tomorrow — when he will find out if his campaign to be leader of the party has been successful.
Prior to falling ill, Mr Carlaw proved there was no love lost between the two local politicians, by attacking Mr Macintosh’s policy to re-nationalise the railways.
He told The Extra: “ This ludicrous suggestion from Ken Macintosh is designed purely as a means of gaining publicity and to cosy up to those on the left of his party.”
“After Labour left us with a record budget deficit, it is remarkable that Mr Macintosh believes we should now spend goodness knows how many millions of pounds re-nationalising Scotland’s rail industry”.
Mr Macintosh — who will have to wait until December to discover his fate — said he is “not interested in a political spat with Jackson Carlaw. My interest is in making Scottish Labour a more positive party”.
n Bookies Ladbrokes have installed Jackson as the third favourite at 9/2, behind Ruth Davidson (4/5) and Murdo Fraser (11/8).
While Paddy Power has Ken Macintosh favourite for the Labour position at 4/7, ahead of Johann Lamont at 11/8 and Jackie Baillie at 5/2.