October 4, 2018 Media

Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet

04 October 2018

Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet 

Richard Leonard, Leader,also leading on the economy brief
Lesley Laird, Deputy Leader and Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland
Claire Baker, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs
Claudia Beamish, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform
Neil Findlay, Business Manager, Party Liaison, Constitutional Relations
Rhoda Grant, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy
Iain Gray, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills
Daniel Johnson, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Justice
James Kelly, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Finance
Monica Lennon, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport
Pauline McNeil, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Equalities, Housing and Social Security
Elaine Smith, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Eradication of Poverty and Inequality
Colin Smyth, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Connectivity and Transport
Alex Rowley, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said: 

“I thank the outgoing Shadow Cabinet for their contribution. 

“The refreshed shadow cabinet will take Scottish Labour into the central debate in Scottish politics: the clear choice between Labour’s plan to invest and build an economy that works for the many, not the few, or further austerity with the SNP and the Tories. 

“The publication of the SNP’s Growth Commission – which is in fact a cuts commission committing the SNP to ten years of austerity – has changed the terrain of politics in Scotland: there is now an even more glaring need for a party that stands for investment, not cuts.  I have decided to refresh Scottish Labour’s shadow cabinet’s focus so that we are ready to meet the challenge of that new terrain of investment versus cuts, and to focus on unity and the public, not ourselves and internal battles. 

“My new shadow cabinet is a blend of skills and experience whose aim is to turn around Scottish Labour’s electoral successes. Our task is more pressing than ever: last week it was revealed that in Scotland today life expectancy is going down; poverty and inequality remain stubbornly high; homelessness is rising; rough sleeping is back and too many children’s life chances are mapped out before they even start primary school due to a simple accident of birth. Meanwhile in-work poverty is rife and pensioner poverty persists. The Tories have implanted a savage austerity agenda and their handling of Brexit is a shambles. 

“Labour support is recovering in Scotland – we have increased our support from where we were just a couple of years ago. But we understand much more needs to be done; we have to do better in convincing people of our message.  So change does not stop at the shadow cabinet. I have today asked Lesley Laird to carry out a review, reporting to me, of Scottish Labour’s organisation and operations to ensure that we are fully battle-ready for 2021. I want to thank our staff who work so hard and I know that the outcome of this review will help them and everyone in Scottish Labour deliver our shared objectives. 

“Today I am also announcing that I will appoint a small working group in the coming week to ensure that we draw on a wider and more representative group of candidates for 2021, so that Scottish Labour is better connected to the communities we seek to represent. 

“Finally, I welcome Dave Watson – formerly head of policy and public affairs of Unison Scotland – who is joining us this week as a policy development officer, working closely with our existing policy team to add his huge depth of policy experience to our manifesto development for 2021. 

“I was elected leader 11 months ago on a platform of real change not only for Scotland but also for Scottish Labour.  By working together we will take Labour forward. It will give us the best possible chance to win again in Scotland, not for our own sake but for the sake of all those people in all of those communities who need a Scottish Labour Government.”