Labour hopeful looks to gather support in Stornoway

Anas Sarwar
Anas Sarwar

Scottish Labour Leadership hopeful Anas Sarwar is in Stornoway today (Friday) in the drive to win backing for his campaign to become the next party

boss.

Richard Leonard

Richard Leonard

He is going head to head with MSP Richard Leonard to take the reins of the party following Kezia Dugdale’s shock resignation from the post in late August.

The contest is being seen as a tussle between Labour’s moderates and leftwingers and the predictions are that Sarwar will pick up a large majority of

nominations from Scottish Labour MSPs, MPs and MEPs, while Leonard, will be backed by all the major unions.

Recently Mr Sarwar qualified his suitability for the role, by declaring: “I am ready to unite the Labour Party in Scotland and lead us back to power.

“Labour is revitalised in Scotland and we need a united party in Holyrood that is fighting the SNP and ready to form Scotland’s next government. And we

need a united Labour Party working together to elect Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister.

“We need Labour values for Scotland’s future.”

Looking ahead to the possibility of, not only, winning the leadership campaign, but also, winning the next Scottish election at Holyrood, he continued:

“As First Minister I would prioritise our cherished NHS, fixing the workforce crisis the SNP has created, invest in education to ensure all children

have the same opportunities in life, and refocus our economy so that it equips workers for the world of tomorrow.

“We need a government that uses its powers to actually deliver on a progressive tax system, that will scrap the unfair council tax, and address child

poverty head on by increasing the level of child benefit.

“A government prepared to use the powers to tackle Tory austerity, not just multiply it and pass it down to local government.”

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP David Stewart is backing his bid, he said recently: “I am supporting Anas Sarwar.

“He is a man of commitment and passion who is well respected across the Labour movement and beyond, and who understands the needs of rural and island

Scotland.

“He will put the values of unity, justice and equality at the heart of his campaign.

“Anas is a seasoned campaigner and a skilled public speaker who has the dynamism to lead us to victory in 2021.”

There seems to be a resurgence for the Labour Party in the Western Isles following Scottish Labour candidate Ealasaidh Macdonald’s solid bid for the

seat at the 2017 General Election, which saw her take on long-time MP Angus MacNeil, in a race that was neck to neck until the final few ballot boxes.

Recently the Lewis Sports Centre in Stornoway also hosted Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn, with hundreds of Islanders turning out, to hear him speak on

issues such as fuel poverty, social injustice, tourism, the NHS, investment in infrastructure, technology and renewables.

As the Islands are now seen by many as a ‘marginal seat’ perhaps this stop-off on Sarwar’s leadership campaign will not only help his bid, but also help

the party’s wider political efforts in the region.