Ken signs up for leadership race

The southside of Glasgow could soon be the hotbed of Scottish politics, as Eastwood MSP Ken Macintosh has announced his decision to stand for leadership of Scottish Labour.

Last week, Eastwood rival and West of Scotland MSP Jackson Carlaw confirmed his candidacy for the Scottish Conservative leadership, while neighbouring Glasgow southside MSP Nicola Sturgeon is next in line to First Minister Alex Salmond.

Mr Macintosh believes he will bring “change and a positive vision for a strong Scotland” to Scottish Labour’s politics.

“Devolution is the reason I got into politics”, Mr Macintosh told The Extra, “I believe the Scottish Parliament is there to build a stronger Scotland, but our party needs to do more to harness the potential of devolution to improve the lives of the Scottish people”.

He added: “It’s time to change the Scottish Labour Party. We need to be less top-down, have a strong positive vision and we must use the new young talent we now have.”

“I know I can bring all sides of the party together, but this contest is not just about leading the Scottish Labour Party.

“I want to win the hearts and minds of Scots to win the next election and become the next First Minister.

“I believe I best represent this new voice — a voice for the future — for Scottish Labour and for Scotland”.

Among those who have already registered their support for Ken are Uddingston and Bellshill MSP Michael McMahon, Shadow Education Minister Claire Baker and Neil Bibby MSP for West of Scotland.

Michael McMahon MSP, who will be Ken’s Campaign Manager, said: “Ken knows that we’ll earn people’s trust through a positive message and that improving the lives of the Scottish people should be our focus.

Mr Macintosh is the third candidate to put his name forward as a potential successor to Iain Gray, who announced his decision to stand down after May’s election drubbing.

Scottish deputy leader Johann Lamont and MP Tom Harris are also standing.

His launch followed the decision of the party’s Scottish executive to revamp the Scottish wing of the party and loosen ties with Labour south of the border.