Page last updated at 17:22 GMT, Thursday, 31 July 2008 18:22 UK

Gray bids for labour leadership

Iain Gray (Pic by Scottish Parliament)
Mr Gray has the backing of Margaret Curran

The East Lothian MSP Iain Gray has formally launched his bid for Labour's Scottish leadership.

His platform includes reunifying the various elements of the Scottish party and seeking alliances at Holyrood to force through legislation.

Former deputy leader Cathy Jamieson has already entered the race and is expected to be joined by East Kilbride MSP Andy Kerr.

Nominations for the leadership contest close on Friday.

Mr Gray has the backing of Margaret Curran, who has confirmed that she will not stand after defeat in the Glasgow East by-election.

East Renfrewshire MSP Ken Macintosh announced that he has pulled out of the race and was backing former health minister Andy Kerr.

'Powerful mandate'

Another leadership hopeful, the former justice minister Cathy Jamieson has called for a windfall tax on energy firms, with Glasgow Cathcart MSP Charlie Gordon still considering whether to run.

Mr Gray kicked off his campaign officially with a speech to local members and activists.

He said: "The leader will emerge from this leadership contest with a powerful mandate."

"MSPs, MPs, MEPs, trade unions and party members all vote in the election.

"They will be able to draw on that distinctive Scottish authority to be a distinctive Scottish voice for Labour in Scotland."

The campaign came about after the resignation of Wendy Alexander as in a row over donations to her campaign.

Mr Gray also said he would not support the government's proposed independence referendum in 2011, claiming that Wendy Alexander's previous calls for the SNP to "bring it on" had not been taken up by the Nationalists.


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