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Baillie beats left-winger Kerr for Scottish Labour deputy leadership

JACKIE BAILLIE was announced as the new deputy leader of Scottish Labour today after beating left-wing candidate Matt Kerr. 

The Dumbarton MSP gained 10,311 of the 17,839 ballots cast, around 58 per cent of the vote. 

Ms Baillie will succeed former MP Lesley Laird, who stepped down in December after losing her Westminster seat in the general election.

"It will be some time before politics returns to normal, but the next Scottish Parliament elections are now just over one year away,” Ms Baillie said after the announcement. 

"The Scottish Labour Party has a huge challenge ahead of us. Working together with [party leader] Richard Leonard, our new UK leader and the entire Labour movement, I am ready for that challenge. 

"I will work each and every day to repay the trust placed in me by members so that we rebuild our party, and win back the trust of the people of Scotland." 

The result was welcomed by Mr Leonard, who reiterated that Labour was looking forward to next year’s Holyrood elections. 

He added: “Jackie will bring a renewed energy and determination to win, so I am extremely pleased that she is joining the leadership team at this critical time.”  

The results, which saw just over half of eligible members cast a vote, were announced by Scottish Labour chair Cara Hilton. 

She thanked both candidates for their enthusiasm during the election, but reiterated that the focus of efforts would be tackling coronavirus in the coming weeks and months. 

"It is now time for our whole party to unite behind our Leader Richard Leonard and Jackie as deputy,”  Ms Hilton added.

"I look forward to working with Jackie to support Richard in building for the Scottish Parliament elections next year, but also with the immediate task of standing up for workers and people across our communities during the coronavirus crisis."

The new deputy leader was welcomed from those within the trade union movement, with TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes hoping the MSP would reach out to lost voters. 

He added: “Jackie has a big job in front of her but I am sure she is up to it.”

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