Page last updated at 15:05 GMT, Sunday, 29 June 2008 16:05 UK

Jamieson mulls Labour leader role

Cathy Jamieson
Cathy Jamieson has not ruled out standing for the party leadership

Scottish Labour deputy leader Cathy Jamieson said she was considering running for the leadership vacancy created by Wendy Alexander quitting.

Ms Alexander stood down on Saturday after Holyrood's Standards Committee ruled she should be suspended from the Scottish Parliament for one day.

She had failed to declare donations to her leadership campaign.

Ms Jamieson - Labour's acting leader - said she could not rule out standing for the leadership.

Others tipped as possible candidates include former health minister Andy Kerr, former communities minister Margaret Curran and Iain Gray - a minister in the first Scottish parliament who lost his seat in 2003 but returned to Holyrood in 2007.

When asked if she would run, Ms Jamieson told BBC Scotland's Politics Show: "I've not ruled it out.

"You could interpret that if I have not ruled it out, then I am actively considering the position."

She added: "Whatever I do my primary motivation will be what is best for the Labour Party."

Her comments came as senior figures in Scottish Labour said there should be a contest to replace Wendy Alexander as leader.

Former first minister Jack McConnell said a leadership contest would ensure the person chosen had the confidence of the party and the Scottish people.

Jack McConnell
Jack McConnell said the leader should be chosen without interference
He also warned that there should not interference from Downing Street or elsewhere.

Mr McConnell said: "One of the key factors here is that members of the Scottish Parliament and party members in Scotland make a choice without any influence from people such as me or from senior figures in the party leadership elsewhere.

"I think we need to have the candidates set out their stall, give them the chance to show the leadership qualities they think they have but also have a real debate about the Scottish Labour Party and how we put our values and principles into practice for the 21st century."

Henry McLeish, who was first minister before Mr McConnell, wanted a contest held within a "tight timetable".

He said: "There is no obvious favourite to replace Wendy.

"That is why I think that within the party structure in Scotland we should have a vote.

"Candidates should be allowed to come forward. Let's have a decent debate."

He added that the leader needed to be chosen quickly because people were "losing patience" with Labour.

"Every day counts in rebuilding Labour's confidence and trust with Scottish people," he added.

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