Tom Harris, Scottish Labour Leadership Candidate, Says Party Must 'Change Or Die'

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Tom Harris Is Arguably The Most Charismatic Candidate To Lead Scottish Labour
Tom Harris Is Arguably The Most Charismatic Candidate To Lead Scottish Labour

A Labour leadership candidate has issued a stark warning about the future of the Scottish party in the final week before a winner is chosen.

Tom Harris - who described the warning as a "change or die" message - said Scottish Labour stands on the brink and may never be seen as an alternative government.

The MP is the only Westminster Labour politician standing to take over from Iain Gray, who announced his resignation after electoral defeat to the SNP in May.

MSPs Johann Lamont and Ken Macintosh are also in the running.

In a message published on Sunday, Mr Harris said: "I want to be completely honest with you: my election as leader would herald a difficult period of radical change for our party.

"The kind of change the party needs is, by definition, not the easy or comfortable kind. If it were, we would have done it already.

"If our new leader - whoever that is - implements change with which members are comfortable, then it's either not enough of a change, or it's the wrong kind of change.

"Scottish Labour stands on the brink. It is quite conceivable that we will not recover electorally from the defeat of 2011, and that we will never again be seen by Scotland as an alternative government."

He wants further change to the party's own structure just weeks after Labour agreed to establish a new overall Scottish leader, extending the role beyond the Holyrood group.

Mr Harris added: "We need to shake off our attachment to out-dated class divisions, just as the vast majority of the Scottish public have done, and look at policy solutions with a fresh perspective, a perspective founded on our traditional values but which transcends outmoded ideas of left and right."

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