POLITICS: Labour’s Anne McGinley becomes third official to quit

Scottish Labour deputy general secretary Anne McGinley becomes third official to quit

Elliot Chappell

Scottish Labour Party deputy general secretary Anne McGinley will be leaving her role ahead of the Holyrood parliamentary elections due to take place in May later this year, the Daily Record has reported.

The departure of McGinley, an NHS nurse, follows that of Scottish Labour’s general secretary, Michael Sharpe, and the resignation of communications director Lynn McMath who left for a job in higher education.

When stepping down from his role in December, Sharpe released a statement on social media in which he said: “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.”

Voters in Scotland will head to the polls on May 6th this year to elect their Holyrood representatives. Polling last month showed Scottish Labour ranking third on voter intention, behind the SNP and the Scottish Tories.

Support for Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP has risen during the pandemic and, according to Savanta Comres, 55% of voters are intending to vote for their SNP constituency candidate while 42% are set to back the party in the regional list.

16% of electors surveyed indicated that they would opt for Scottish Labour candidates in the constituency vote, behind the Tories on 20%, while 17% reported that they intend to back Richard Leonard’s party in the regional list vote.

The analysis from the polling organisation suggests Labour would see a reduction in the number of its MSPs by five to 19, while the SNP would return 71 and the Conservatives would secure a total of 23 MSPs.

Savanta Comres also reported a renewed level of support for Scottish independence in its poll, with 58% of people backing a ‘Yes’ vote compared to 42% voting ‘No’, or 52% to 38% when ‘don’t knows’ are not included.

The research indicates that 40% of voters feel a second independence referendum should take place within the next two years, 15% say it should happen within the next five and just 6% were in favour of waiting a decade.

UK Labour leader Keir Starmer delivered a key speech aimed at Scottish voters last month, promising “real and lasting economic and political devolution across our towns, communities and to people across the country”.

He launched a UK-wide constitutional commission on devolution and declared that “no responsible Prime Minister would grant” a fresh independence referendum in the early part of the next Holyrood term.

It is understood that the now former deputy general secretary of the Scottish Labour Party Anne McGinley is set to be replaced by former East Lothian Westminster MP Fiona O’Donnell on an interim basis.

Asked for comment on the departure of Anne McGinley, a Scottish Labour spokesperson said: “We do not comment on staff. Scottish Labour is preparing for the Scottish Parliament elections.”

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