ASLEF and Unite say Scottish leader must stand down after disastrous General Election results

Jim MurphyASLEF and Unite have called for Jim Murphy, leader of the Scottish Labour Party, to step down following last week’s General Election result.

Murphy, who was elected last year, presided over a defeat in which Labour lost every seat except one.

ASLEF Scotland organiser Kevin Lindsay said: “Jim Murphy has to go – and he has to go now.

“Ed Miliband, Harriet Harman, Nick Clegg, and even Nigel Farage have all stood down, accepting responsibility for, and the consequences of, defeat for their parties at the polls. It is, therefore, quite clear to most of us in the Scottish Labour Party what the right thing is for Jim Murphy to do.

“Ironically, those four are still Parliamentarians. Jim Murphy isn’t. His position is untenable. What he does not appear to understand is that, with being leader, comes responsibility. Now Jim Murphy’s moral judgement is being questioned by the Scottish people as he tries desperately to cling on.”

Unite Scotland leader Pat Rafferty said: “It is time for change the Scottish Labour Party. That is the overwhelming, unambiguous message from Scotland’s people, including its trade union members, on Thursday.

“Indeed, it is past time for change. Labour in Scotland has been bleeding support and credibility for years. On one issue after another – the embrace of “Blairism”, the opposition to a second “devomax” question in last year’s referendum, the decision to campaign with the Tories in the ill-judged “Better Together” campaign, and in the election of a new leader last year – Unite has warned against the course being followed by the party and has, alas, been proved right. The price of ignoring such warnings has been a virtual wipe-out for Scottish Labour at Westminster.

“The Party has now less than a year to put this right before the Holyrood elections. Either Scottish Labour rediscovers its mission as the natural voice for social justice in our nation, or irrelevance and ultimately extinction looms. To expect trade unions to campaign for a business-as-usual Scottish Labour in those elections is to ask for the impossible.

“That is why it is now time to genuinely listen, learn and change. For Labour to stand a chance of rising from the ashes of this electoral ruin, the people must be able to look at the party and see very clearly that it is truly ‘under new management’.

“Change must begin with a new leader. It is surprising that Jim Murphy should feel he still has a mandate to lead the Party after Thursday’s results. I do not say this out of any personal animus. Jim fought a courageous campaign, and the Party’s problems clearly long predate his leadership. But staying on as leader will only prolong the party’s agony. Scottish Labour must be rebuilt from the ground up, free from the taint of machine politics and the legacy of the misjudgements of the last Labour government.

“I therefore call on Jim Murphy to resign without delay, and give the membership of the Scottish Labour Party the chance to determine their own way forward in rebuilding from Thursday’s ruins.”

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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