With Jim Murphy set to resign, who should lead Scottish Labour?

Jim Murphy - Campaigning in Neilston 2

Jim Murphy has made his intentions clear that he will stand down as Scottish Labour leader next month, but who should replace him?

If things go as planned by Murphy then the next leader will be elected in a one member one vote system, like the one the UK Labour party has adopted for its leadership elections, something that will weaken Union influence.

Since the last leadership election in December the number of candidates for Scottish Labour has shrunk dramatically. In order to stand, candidates must be an MP, an MSP or an MEP.

In May Scottish Labour lost forty out of forty-one MPs, resulting in the pool of candidates shrinking. Scottish Labour’s one MP has already ruled himself out. Furthermore, it is unlikely that either of Scotland’s two Labour MEPs will run, therefore leaving a pool of thirty-eight MSPs.

Whoever wins will lead the party into the 2016 Scottish elections with the hope of becoming First Minister if the party beats the SNP.

So who should lead?

Neil Findlay

Mr Findlay stood for leader in December and came second so one might expect him to stand again. However, according to the Edinburgh Evening News he ruled himself out on Sunday, saying that:

“The last week has been a traumatic time for everyone in the Scottish Labour Party. We now need to get on with the urgent task of rebuilding our organisation, the morale of party members and the policies we need to restore the faith of the voters in the run up to the 2016 Scottish Parliament elections.”

Kezia Dugdale

With Neil Findlay out before the contest has started the current Scottish Labour deputy leader could move up to the top position. As Jim Murphy was not an MSP, Dugdale has been asking questions in his place in the Scottish Parliament in the last six months. She is an effective communicator and could be the voice the party needs.

According to the Guardian she has the support of Scotland’s only Labour MP, as well as an anonymous senior MSP. The Guardian suggests she could be the “favourite to take over.”

Sarah Boyack

In the last leadership election Boyack came third to Murphy and Findlay. She could run again when Murphy steps aside.

Scottish Labour's future?

Overall it looks likely that Dugdale is on course to lead the party, but a more senior member of the party could emerge as a contender, or perhaps a new less well heard of ambitious MSP. Either way whoever takes over has a mountain to climb.

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