Top picture: General Secretary Michael Sharpe and Richard Leonard.
By Lucy Ashton
Scottish Labour’s general secretary Michael Sharpe has announced that he will be leaving the top post ahead of Scottish parliamentary elections taking place in May next year.
Sharpe released a statement via Twitter this afternoon, which reads: “After deep consideration and discussions with my family, I will be leaving my post as Scottish general secretary.
“The Labour Party has always been – and will continue to be – a cherished part of my life. It’s been an honour to work with the party in Holyrood for nine years before joining as Scottish general secretary.
“Now more than ever, we need the radical progressive change that only Labour can bring. I will continue to help Richard Leonard and Keir Starmer return Labour to government in Scotland and the UK and to help Labour to power in local councils across the country.
“However, with elections for the Scottish Parliament five months away, I realise that I cannot give my young family and the party I love the commitment that they each deserve.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank Richard as leader of Scottish Labour, all the party members, our talented staff, our elected representatives at all levels and our trade union comrades for all that they do to advance the cause of labour.”
Commenting on Sharpe’s decision to step down, Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said: “I would like to put on record my thanks and appreciation to Michael Sharpe for all he has done for the Scottish Labour Party.
“For over a decade Michael has dedicated his life to the party. His extensive political acumen and policy knowledge and skills will be greatly missed but I know he will continue to campaign for the party in the future.
“I respect his decision to take a step back from the high demands of the role of general secretary in order to focus on his young family. I wish him, Laura and Maxton all the very best for the next chapter in their lives.”
UK Labour leader Keir Starmer, who took over from Jeremy Corbyn.