Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Donohoe declares against indy Scottish Labour Party

Brian Donohoe, Labour MP for Central Ayrshire, has entered the debate on the future of the Scottish Labour party, no doubt after Tom Harris's declaration yesterday that he would stand for the leadership.

Implicit in having an MP as Scottish leader is the case for an independent Scottish Labour Party, something Donohoe and others remembers as a cause for schism and heartache in the late 70s when Jim Sillars was a young maverick.

Donohoe has issued a stark warning against a free-standing Scottish Labour Party, proving, if it needed to be, that there is a strong pro-unionist streak in the Scottish party and no concensus on the future direction of travel.

Donohoe said: “There is no way a United Kingdom party can have a separate identity and people who think the opposite are deluded!”

“I have spent long enough in politics to have had experience of a Scottish Labour Party before which thankfully died on the vine. I am pro-unionist and believe arguments should be presented on the strength of the union not the whim of the separatist.”

Strong words indeed for Murphy and Boyack, and indeed, Tom Harris to chew over.

My morning listening is split between GMS, Athris na Maidne and the Today programme so I contrived to miss Douglas Alexander ruling himself out of standing as a candidate on Radio Four this morning.

He said it was very kind of Tom Harris to suggest him as a future Scottish leader but said he was busy with Libya and pursuing his Foreign Affairs brief.

As I expected Harris's move has opened a gap for Alexander and Murphy to escape demands that they should be the ones turning north.

Alexander said: "I think there are people who can and should offer themselves for the work of rebuilding (the Scottish Labour party) and in that sense if Tom wants to put his name forward that's all to the good."

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