Battle Of The Brownites Breaks Out Over Key Labour Target Seat

Two key allies of former PM Gordon Brown will go head-to-head in East Lothian.
Kirsty McNeill and Douglas Alexander will go head-to-head in East Lothian
Kirsty McNeill and Douglas Alexander will go head-to-head in East Lothian

Two key allies of Gordon Brown are set to go head-to-head to be Labour’s candidate in a key target seat at the next general election.

Former cabinet minister Douglas Alexander and Kirsty McNeill, who was the ex-PM’s speechwriter in Number 10, both want to stand in the East Lothian constituency.

The seat was won for the SNP by Kenny MacAskill in 2019 with a majority over Labour of 3,886.

He has since defected to Alex Salmond’s Alba Party, and Labour have made it their top target in Scotland.

HuffPost UK revealed earlier this month how Alexander - who held a number of cabinet posts under both Brown and Tony Blair before losing his Paisley and Renfrewshire South seat in 2015 - was keen to stand in East Lothian.

It has now emerged that anti-poverty campaigner and charity boss McNeill is also throwing her hat into the ring ahead of next month’s candidate selection battle.

In a video posted on Twitter, she said: “I’ve promoted our values from the doorstep to the TV studios.

“Things are really tough right now, but it doesn’t have to be like this. We could build a future where no child is hungry, where no family is cold, where every generation does better than the last.”

The battle between the pair will pose a major dilemma for Brown, given both Alexander and McNeill are trusted proteges of the former PM.

It also has echoes of the 2010 Labour leadership election, when Ed Miliband and Ed Balls - two other key allies of Brown - went head to head.

In a quote on McNeill’s website, Brown says: “Kirsty McNeill is an outstandingly effective local and national campaigner.

“I had the pleasure of working with her in Downing Street and since and I know she’s full of ideas about the future and totally committed to social justice and bringing an end to poverty.

“With all her experience of government and her dedication to Scotland, combined with her expertise built nationally and on the world stage as a charity leader, I know she will make a great local MP.”


What's Hot