Page last updated at 11:33 GMT, Sunday, 27 July 2008 12:33 UK

MSPs prepare Labour leader bids

Andy Kerr
Mr Kerr said he was determined to stand for the Labour leadership

Several Labour MSPs have indicated their interest in succeeding Wendy Alexander as leader of the party in Scotland.

Writing in a Sunday newspaper, former health minister Andy Kerr said he was determined to stand.

Glasgow MSP Charlie Gordon also said he was keen to enter the contest and was gauging his level of support.

It is widely expected another MSP, Iain Gray, will officially put his name forward later this week.

Margaret Curran MSP had previously been tipped to stand for the leadership, but this is thought to be less likely following her defeat at the hands of the SNP in the Glasgow East by-election.

Nominations for the post of leader of the Labour Party in Scotland open on Monday.

Writing in the Sunday Herald newspaper, Mr Kerr described the loss of Glasgow East as "our worst by-election defeat in recent history" but insisted it had made him "more determined than ever to stand for Labour's leadership and meet the challenge of the nationalists and the Tories head on."

Iain Gray
Iain Gray: Looking forward to the leadership contest

Mr Gray, the shadow finance secretary, said: "To win back the trust of voters I believe we must make sure that we stay focused on what matters to them. By offering a fresh approach and by working together as a party, we can hold the SNP administration to account more effectively, regaining the trust of people across Scotland.

"I'm looking forward to the coming leadership contest and believe that it will ensure that we can take the Scottish Labour party forward, showing the people of Scotland that it is Scottish Labour and not the SNP that will stand up for them and their needs.

"We must choose the right person to not only lead the party over the next few years but crucially we must also choose the right person to lead the party at the next election in 2011."

Mr Gordon resigned earlier this year as transport spokesman after admitting to making mistakes over a donation to Ms Alexander's leadership campaign.

The ensuing row over the donation led to Ms Alexander resigning as party leader after the Scottish Parliament's standards committee recommended MSPs vote to ban her from parliament for one day after she failed to declare donations on her MSP register of interests.

But Mr Gordon. the MSP for Glasgow Cathcart, told the Sunday Herald he wanted to put the affair behind him and "renew our leadership and renew our party."


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