2008 Scottish Labour leadership election
The 2008 Scottish Labour Party leadership election was an internal party election to choose a new leader of the Labour Party in the Scottish Parliament, and was triggered following the resignation of Wendy Alexander following a row over donations to her own leadership campaign in 2007. Iain Gray won the contest and was announced as leader on 13 September 2008.
It was the second Scottish Labour leadership election in as many years, the first being caused by the resignation of Jack McConnell, following the Scottish National Party's victory over Labour in the 2007 Scottish Parliament election, however in this election, Alexander was unopposed, meaning that no ballot actually took place.
The timetable for the election was finalised on Monday 28 July, having been put on hold for a month to allow the party to focus on the Glasgow East by-election, which ultimately saw the Scottish National Party overturn a 13,507 Labour majority to gain the seat. Nominations closed at noon on Friday 1 August with the result being declared on Saturday 13 September.
Successfully nominated candidates
Source: Scottish Labour
All three declared candidates received more than five nominations from MSPs, which was the minimum requirement for them to get onto the ballot paper by the close of nominations at 12:00 UTC+1 on 1 August 2008
Candidates are initially nominated by their parliamentary colleagues from within the Scottish Parliament, following which Westminster MPs, constituency Labour parties and affiliated trade union organisation can submit 'supporting nominations', providing their backing to a specific candidates. These nominations can be seen in the tables below;
|Nominations from MSPs|
|Iain Gray MSP||Cathy Jamieson MSP||Andy Kerr MSP|
|Claire Baker MSP||Bill Butler MSP||Jackie Baillie MSP|
|Richard Baker MSP||Malcolm Chisholm MSP||Karen Gillon MSP|
|Sarah Boyack MSP||Cathie Craigie MSP||Andy Kerr MSP|
|Rhona Brankin MSP||Patricia Ferguson MSP||Ken Macintosh MSP|
|Margaret Curran MSP||Marlyn Glen MSP||Paul Martin MSP|
|Helen Eadie MSP||Rhoda Grant MSP||Frank McAveety MSP|
|George Foulkes MSP||Hugh Henry MSP||Michael McMahon MSP|
|Charlie Gordon MSP||Cathy Jamieson MSP||Duncan McNeil MSP|
|Iain Gray MSP||James Kelly MSP||Pauline McNeill MSP|
|Des McNulty MSP||Elaine Murray MSP||Peter Peacock MSP|
|John Park MSP||Cathy Peattie MSP|
|Richard Simpson MSP||Karen Whitefield MSP|
|David Stewart MSP|
The election took place using Alternative Vote in an electoral college, with a third of the votes allocated to Labour's MSPs, Scottish MPs and Scottish MEPs, a third to individual members of the Scottish Labour Party, and a third to individual members of affiliated organisations, mainly trade unions.
In order to be elected, one candidate must have achieved a majority of votes, i.e. 50% plus 1 vote.
|Andy Kerr eliminated|
|Iain Gray elected leader|
Suggested candidates not standing
The following either publicly suggested they were considering standing for election or received media speculation to that effect. However at the close of nominations they had not been nominated by any MSPs.
- Charlie Gordon
- Tom McCabe
- Margaret Curran. Curran was considered to be a probable candidate; however, Curran subsequently stood in and lost the Glasgow East by-election on 24 July, raising questions over any leadership ambitions. Later stated she supported Gray.
- Ken Macintosh. Macintosh nominated Andy Kerr on 31 July.
Timeline of events
|28 June 2008||• Wendy Alexander announces her immediate resignation as Scottish Labour leader.|
• Cathy Jamieson takes over as acting leader.
|29 June 2008||• Cathy Jamieson announces her intention to stand for leadership.|
|30 June 2008||• Labour MP David Marshall resigns his parliamentary seat of Glasgow East due to ill health, prompting a by-election.|
• Margaret Curran says she is "actively considering" whether or not to run for leadership.
|1 July 2008||• Charlie Gordon, the MSP who accepted the illegal donation that ultimately led to Wendy Alexander's resignation, announces he intends to stand in the leadership election.|
|2 July 2008||• Scottish Labour announce the postponement of the leadership election in order to concentrate on Glasgow East by-election.|
|7 July 2008||• Scottish Labour select Margaret Curran as their candidate for the Glasgow East by-election.|
|24 July 2008 and
25 July 2008
|• Glasgow East by-election: The SNP's John Mason overturns previous Labour majority of 13,507 to gain the seat causing what many dub a 'political earthquake'.|
|28 July 2008||• Scottish Labour's procedure committee meet and agree the timetable for the leadership election.|
• Cathy Jamieson announces her resignation as deputy leader of Scottish Labour, meaning a deputy leadership election will be held alongside the leadership election.
• Nominations for both elections open.
• Iain Gray formally announces his candidacy in the leadership election.
|29 July 2008||• Cathy Jamieson formally launches her campaign for the leadership.|
|30 July 2008||• Scottish Labour confirm that both Cathy Jamieson and Iain Gray have received sufficient nominations and are therefore official candidates.|
|31 July 2008||• Scottish Labour confirm that Andy Kerr has received sufficient nominations and is therefore the third official candidate.|
|1 August 2008||• Nominations closed with three candidates having been successfully nominated.|
|13 September 2008||• Declaration of result made – Iain Gray elected Scottish Labour leader.|
- "Alexander quits as Labour leader". BBC News. 28 June 2008.
- "McConnell quits Labour leadership". BBC News. 15 August 2007.
- "Alexander to lead Scottish Labour". BBC News. 14 September 2007.
- "By-election delays leader contest". BBC News. 2 July 2008.
- "SNP stun Labour in Glasgow East". BBC News. 25 July 2008.
- "Q&A: Labour leadership election". BBC News. 30 June 2008.
- "Labour leader nominations close". BBC News. 1 August 2008.
- "The Scottish Labour Party: Nominations received". Scottish Labour. 1 August 2008. Archived from the original on 5 August 2008.
- "Gordon eyes Labour leadership bid". BBC News. 1 July 2008.
- "Who are the Labour contenders?". BBC News. 28 June 2008.
- "Curran considering leadership bid". BBC News. 30 June 2008.
- "UK | Scotland | Curran backs Gray in leader vote". BBC News. 30 July 2008. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
- Paul Hutchenson (28 July 2008). "After poll disaster Labour dups referendum support". Sunday Herald. Archived from the original on 30 July 2008. Retrieved 28 July 2008.
- "Jamieson mulls Labour leader role". BBC News. 29 June 2008.
- "By-election looms as MP quits". BBC News. 30 June 2008.
- "Curran takes on by-election fight". BBC News. 7 July 2008.
- "SNP delivers political earthquake". BBC News. 25 July 2008.
- "Gray contests leadership election". BBC News. 25 July 2008.
- "Jamieson launches leadership bid". BBC News. 29 July 2008.
- "The Scottish Labour Party: Nominations received". Scottish Labour. 30 July 2008. Archived from the original on 5 August 2008.