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JUST SHOW US THE REDDIES; RACE TO BE SCOTTISH LABOUR BOSS HEATS UP; Public can take part in leadership vote for PS12.

Byline: Mark Aitken Political Editor

Members of the public will be able to pay PS12 to vote for the next Scottish Labour leader.

Party officials have said that the winner of the two-horse race to replace Kezia Dugdale will be announced on November 18.

And new members will have until October 9 to sign up to take part in the vote.

People will be able to pay a one-off fee of PS12, while full membership will range from PS3 to PS48 a year.

The election could be a money-spinner for Labour as supporters of Anas Sarwar and Richard Leonard sign up.

Membership of the UK party has soared by 50 per cent under Jeremy Corbyn - earning the party PS14million in fees last year compared with just PS1.5million for the Tories. But there will be a "verification panel" to check new applications to vote for the Scottish leadership.

During the 2015 UK leadership race, it was feared the contest was being infiltrated by Tory supporters who wanted to sabotage the party by having Jeremy Corbyn as their leader.

The fee was just PS3, though it was raised to PS25 for last year's contest between Corbyn and challenger Owen Smith.

Scottish Labour interim leader Alex Rowley said: "Labour are on the up in Scotland. This week we won two by-elections in parts of Scotland the SNP thought were safe for years. People are fed up of 10 years of the SNP over-promising and underdelivering, and angry at seven years of Tory austerity.

"Labour have begun to regain the trust of the Scottish people. Our next leader will have a great platform to build on, taking us towards the 2021 election when we have a real chance of forming a government."

Two MSPs are in the running for the job - former trade union organiser Richard Leonard, who was elected to Holyrood in 2016, and the party's health spokesman and former deputy leader Anas Sarwar.

Leonard is seen as the left-wing candidate and Sarwar more centrist.

Nominations for the leadership close next Sunday.

There will be 10 hustings events that will see the two men debate across the country.

Sarwar said: "Our campaign will be conducted in a comradely spirit, engaging with our movement and demonstrating to the country that we are ready to transform lives across Scotland. I want to focus on creating a country that fights inequality and injustice wherever we see it, putting Labour values at the heart of Scotland's future."

Leonard said: "We need to use this as an exercise in building up the party and the wider Labour movement and sowing the seeds of both unity and unity of purpose - setting out a vision of a more equal Scotland with full employment in a sustainable economy, funding quality public services, providing dignity for pensioners and hope for young people."

Meanwhile, the Campaign for Socialism, a left-wing group within Scottish Labour, said they are backing Leonard.

MSPs POLICE MERGER MUST BE STOPPED

Politicians have demanded a police merger is put on hold after Scotland's top cop stood aside over fresh bullying claims.

Opposition parties united in calling for the planned merger of crisis-hit Police Scotland and the British Transport Police to be delayed while the force have no chief constable. Phil Gormley took "special leave" from his post after a third bullying allegation - the latest from assistant chief constable Malcolm Graham.

Gormley's deputy Iain Livingstone has taken over but is due to retire later this year.

Meanwhile, Scotland's police watchdogs are also in turmoil. Chairman Andrew Flanagan is leaving after being accused of bullying ex-board member Moi Ali and presiding over a culture of secrecy.

Last week, a leaked report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland said there was no detailed business case for the merger.

Liam Kerr, Scottish Tory justice spokesman, said: "Even before the latest crisis, there were major question marks over why the takeover of BTP was taking place."

Scottish Lib Dems' Liam McArthur said: "It would be irresponsible to allow a merger to proceed."

The Scottish Government said: "Integrating the BTP into Police Scotland will provide a single command structure for policing when it comes into force in 2019."

CAPTION(S):

on leave Gormley

fans Labour leader Corbyn. Far left, Dugdale

hopes Anas Sarwar, far left, and Richard Leonard want to be new leader of Scottish Labour
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 10, 2017
Words:724
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