Page last updated at 13:49 GMT, Saturday, 13 September 2008 14:49 UK

Gray becomes Scots Labour leader


Iain Gray addresses Labour activists

Iain Gray has been elected as the new Scottish Labour leader, the party has announced.

The former Scottish enterprise minister beat off competition from Andy Kerr and Cathy Jamieson, who also served in previous Scottish Government cabinets.

Mr Gray, the MSP for East Lothian, will take over from Wendy Alexander, who resigned from the leadership in June.

MSP Johann Lamont was chosen as Mr Gray's deputy. Parliamentarians, party members and unions voted.

Mr Gray said Labour, which lost last year's Scottish Parliament elections, was going through a difficult period.

He said: "This election is the beginning of a new conviction in Scottish Labour, united around our shared values and moving forward with common purpose.

"Labour is best when we look outwards and align our values with the people's aspirations. Not just listening but hearing."

Mr Gray promised a "fresh start" for the party.

Scotland needs a first minister whose passion is lifting people up
Iain Gray

"It is time to close the manifesto on which we fought the 2007 Scottish election and time to write our programme for Scotland for 2011 and beyond," he said.

He said a senior colleague would be given the job of developing policy which was in line with Labour values but in touch with the wider Scotland.

This would include reform of the council tax to make it fairer while still protecting local services, he said.

Mr Gray said lessons from the by-election loss of Glasgow East to the SNP would be learnt and written into "every line" of Labour's programme for winning in 2011.

His victory speech also contained a savage attack on SNP First Minister Alex Salmond, whose background the new Labour leader contrasted with his own.

"When Alex Salmond was an official in the Scottish Office I was learning to be a teacher in a tough school and a community activist in the biggest council housing scheme in Edinburgh," said Mr Gray.

"While he moved to the Royal Bank of Scotland I moved to Mozambique where I taught for two years in a country literally fighting for its life.

"While he spent the eighties and nineties developing the tricks of politics in Westminster, I spent them developing my values working for Oxfam."

Johann Lamont
Johann Lamont becomes Scottish Labour's deputy leader
Mr Gray said: "We don't need a first minister whose pride is putting people down.

"Scotland needs a first minister whose passion is lifting people up."

Mr Gray won the leadership despite only returning to Holyrood in the 2007 election.

He served as enterprise minister in the first Scottish Parliament before losing his Edinburgh Pentlands seat to the Tories' David McLetchie in 2003.

In the fight for the post - technically leader of the Scottish Parliament Labour group - no candidate achieved 50% of the votes in the first round.

The lowest rating candidate, Andy Kerr, was eliminated at that point and his supporters preferential votes were then redistributed to the two remaining candidates.

That gave Mr Gray victory by a margin of 57.79% to 42.21%.

Johann Lamont defeated fellow MSP Bill Butler by 60.18% to 39.82% in the battle for the deputy leadership.


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