Jackie Baillie MSP for Dumbarton, Lomond and Helensburgh, is in the running for Labour deputy leadership.
By Democrat reporter
Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton and Lomond, has announced that she will be running for the position of deputy leader in the upcoming Scottish Labour leadership elections.
This announcement has come as a result of plans to run as a job share deputy leader with Glasgow regional MSP, Pauline McNeill were rejected by the party.
The two MSPs believed their years of individual expertise and party experience would make them best suited as the team that could unite the divided party and help regain lost trust for Scottish Labour.
However, Labour Party bosses have vetoed these plans, citing procedural issues as a reason for not allowing the deputy leader to be a job share position.
Jackie has been MSP for Dumbarton since 1999 and is the only Scottish Labour MSP to have won her constituency, against the odds, continuously since the creation of the Scottish Parliament.
Her campaign seeks to bring the Party together at a time when it is at its most divided. Jackie wants to get the party better prepared ahead of the 2021 elections and lay the groundwork for what will hopefully be successful 2022 Local Government elections.
Jackie Baillie said:“I can’t sit on the sidelines any longer and watch my Party decline. That’s why today I am announcing my candidacy as Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party.
“I am disappointed that my plans to unite with my friend and colleague, Pauline McNeill, have been rejected, but I look forward to working with her to rebuild our beloved party regardless of whether we share a candidacy or not.
“The future of our Party is hanging in the balance. We experienced two crushing defeats in 2019 and the Scottish electorate did not feel able to put their trust in Scottish Labour. As a result, the Party lost all but one MP. The result has meant that communities across Scotland have been subjected to another five years of Tory austerity, on top of the more than a decade of SNP cuts that they have already had to endure.
“Voters lost trust in our leadership and were confused by our manifesto. The inconsistent message that came from senior figures within the Labour Party on the two biggest issues facing Scottish voters – Scottish independence and Brexit – meant that the electorate did not know what the Party stood for and instead went elsewhere.
“If Scottish Labour does not accept responsibility for the result and take drastic steps to change, then the Party will become a residual force in Scottish politics. My aim is to unite the Party and bring members together from across the political spectrum, in order to rebuild the Party for the future.
“My membership cards say ‘By the strength of our common endeavour, we achieve more than we achieve alone.’ This resonates with me now more than ever.”
* Jackie, pictured left, brings over 20 years of parliamentary experience to the role. She is the only Scottish Labour MSP to have won the same constituency seat since the creation of the Scottish Parliament in 1999.
* During her time as an MSP she has served in Government, including as Minister for Social Justice. She led on the Scottish Government’s Homelessness Task Force; delivered the first national funding package to improve domestic abuse services and developed the first national framework to end child poverty in Scotland.
* In opposition, Jackie has been Scottish Labour’s spokesperson on Health; Social Justice; Finance; and the Economy and Fair Work.
* Jackie has carried out extensive research into a number of key areas including the gender pay gap and zero hour contracts. She has joined forces with the GMB to save the Vale of Leven hospital, and USDAW to end hostile working conditions for shop staff.
* Jackie is currently chair of the Scottish Parliamentary Labour Party and sits on the Party’s Scottish Executive Committee.