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Lennon to run against Sarwar in Scottish Labour leadership race

RICHARD LEONARD’S ally Monica Lennon has confirmed that she is a candidate to succeed him as Scottish Labour leader.

The Central Scotland MSP and party health spokeswoman is now in a contest against Mr Sarwar to replace Mr Leonard, following the latter’s shock announcement last Thursday that he would step down.

Ms Lennon, who backed Mr Leonard in the previous Scottish Labour leadership election, said that she had decided to put herself forward after having “extensive discussions with party members.”

Left-wing MSP Neil Findlay said that he had nominated her, adding: “I look forward to a contest of ideas and vision for Scotland’s recovery from the Covid economic crisis.”

Ms Lennon’s campaign against period poverty led to Scotland becoming the first country in the world where female hygiene products are available free of charge.

The leadership contest comes in the run-up to May’s Holyrood elections.

Mr Sarwar, Scottish Labour’s constitution spokesman and a Glasgow MSP whose 2017 leadership bid was defeated by Mr Leonard, announced on Saturday that he will run again with the intention to “rebuild” the party and Scotland.

On Saturday, the Scottish Labour executive agreed to a condensed timescale for any leadership contest, with the Holyrood elections less than four months away.

The last leadership election campaign lasted two-and-a-half months.

A deadline of midnight on Sunday was set for candidates to declare intentions to stand.

They require support from at least four of the party’s MSPs or its sole Scottish MP, Ian Murray, by midday today to be formally nominated. 

Mr Sarwar has said that he had support of more than a quarter of the party’s councillors.

Scottish Labour members and affiliated supporters will cast votes from February 9 until February 26, with the winner being announced the following day.

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