New Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard hits campaign trail

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Richard Leonard

The new Scottish Labour leader hit the campaign trail on his first full day in charge of the party.

Richard Leonard defeated his centrist rival Anas Sarwar on Saturday in a bitter contest to succeed Kezia Dugdale.

His victory has been overshadowed by turmoil within the party, including the suspension of former interim leader Alex Rowley over harassment allegations and Ms Dugdale’s controversial decision to appear in I’m A Celebrity.

But Mr Leonard, who is closely aligned with Jeremy Corbyn’s politics, headed to Rutherglen today to speak to voters ahead of a council by-election on Thursday.

He said he would be talking to the public “about the things that matter to them – such as soaring rents and low wages”.

“The SNP has been found out as a party content to manage austerity, while Theresa May’s administration is a government in name only,” Mr Leonard said.

“Only Labour in Scotland and across the UK will deliver a radical government that works for the many, not the few.”

Mr Leonard won the election with 57% of the vote from Scottish Labour members and supporters.

Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Conservative leader, congratulated Mr Leonard on his win, but said “many people will be wondering whether he will turn out to be another temporary solution to his party’s deep seated problems”.