7 candidates who could replace Dugdale - Richard Leonard vs Anas Sarwar?

In a shock move, Dugdale has resigned as Scottish Labour leader. Who could replace her?

According to the BBC, Dugdale announced her resignation in an exclusive interview with BBC Scotland editor Brian Taylor.

Here are seven candidates that could replace her.

The two favourites, according to Ladbrokes are Anas Sarwar and Richard Leonard, each on odds of 2/1.

1. Anas Sarwar

Sarwar is the current Ladbrokes favourite to become the next Scottish Labour leader, with the betting firm giving him odds of 2/1. Sarwar served as a Glasgow MP before losing his seat in the 2015 general election. The following year he entered the Scottish parliament via the Glasgow list. Has this former dentist got what it takes to lead the party?

 2. Alex Rowley

Rowley is currently the party’s deputy leader. The Scotsman has reported that key figures in Scotland’s largest trade union Unite are backing Rowley for the job.

His odds with Ladbrokes stood at 4/1 this morning, but now stand at 8/1, as of 14:45. Could he follow in Dugdale’s footsteps and go from deputy to leader?

However, the BBC's Nick Eardley has said that Rowley probably won't stand.

3. Richard Leonard

Leonard is a newcomer to the Scottish parliament, having only been elected in 2016 following a failed bid to become an MSP back in 2011. According to the Scottish Labour Party, he is an ex-Scottish TUC economist, and worked for the GMB union.

His odds this morning were 5/1, but with Eardley suggesting that he could emerge as a left-wing candidate, he is now joint first favourite with Sarwar.

The National has reported that he is likely to run for the position.

4. Jackie Baillie

Baillie is one of Scotland’s longest-serving MSPs having first been elected way back in 1999 when the Scottish parliament was first opened. As someone who has been around for a very long time, could she finally throw her hat into the ring?

Her odds with Ladbrokes currently stand at 16/1, making her the betting company’s fourth favourite to succeed Kezia Dugdale.

5. Jenny Marra

Marra has worked for Dundee University and has a degree in law, according to the party’s website. She was first elected to the Scottish parliament in 2011, and was re-elected last year.

Ladbrokes offered odds of 12/1 for a Marra leadership this morning, but her odds now stand at 25/1.


6. Paul Sweeney

Unlike the rest of the MPs on this list, Sweeney is a member of the Westminster parliament rather than the one in Edinburgh. He is currently Corbyn’s shadow Scottish minister, having been appointed to the role following June’s election.

The fact he is an MP rather than an MSP would put him in a similar position to that of Jim Murphy back in 2014 were he to be elected leader. It’s hard to imagine Sweeney becoming Scottish leader for this reason and for the fact that he is a newcomer to parliamentary politics. Nonetheless, his odds are 16/1.

7. James Kelly

Kelly has been an MSP since the 2007 election, which saw an end to the Lib-Lab coalition that had ruled Scotland for eight years.

According to the Scottish Labour party, Kelly is a former analyst programmer and business analyst, and is currently his party’s business manager.

His odds with Ladbrokes are 14/1, making him the seventh favourite to succeed Kezia Dugdale.

Who will stand?

Right now, it looks like Rowley will not stand and that Leonard could be the candidate of the left. If Sarwar puts his name forward there could be a contest between the relatively unheard of Leonard and the more well-known Sarwar. With Corbyn having energised the party in June's snap election, the political winds could be blowing in Leonard's direction.

If politics has taught us over the last few years - anything is possible.

The future of Scottish Labour

Even though the party improved on its 2015 performance in the recent snap election, it still has a long way to go to be the party it once was north of the border. Whoever takes over will have mountains to move to take the party in the right direction. There is no doubt that “Corbyn-mania” has helped revive Scottish Labour to an extent, but as Scotland’s third party they will need to make massive gains to beat the SNP and Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Conservatives.

All odds are accurate as of 14:45 30th August 2017.

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