Labour leadership hopefuls gather for hustings

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Indy Politics

Contenders for the Labour leadership will take part in a hustings in Scotland today.

Party members will gather in Glasgow to hear from Ed and David Miliband, Diane Abbot, Andy Burnham and Ed Balls.

The event is the latest in a series across the UK, following a hustings in London yesterday hosted by left-of-centre think-tank Compass.

Despite losing the General Election in May, Labour held all its seats in Scotland and won back two it had lost in by-elections.

Speaking before today's gathering, Labour's leader at Holyrood, Iain Gray MSP, said: "I am delighted to welcome the leadership candidates to Scotland so early in the campaign.

"This election will speak to the country, with over a third of a million people in Scotland getting a ballot paper.

"Over 500 party members from Inverness to Dumfries have requested tickets to the event in Glasgow.

"The Scottish leadership elections two years ago invigorated the party and gave it new focus.

"The same can happen across the UK over the coming four months."

Labour said more than 2,000 people joined the party in Scotland in the weeks after the election, bringing the total to 20,133.

The figure is about 25 times the usual number of new recruits each month.

SNP MSP and anti-nuclear campaigner Bill Kidd urged candidates to speak out against a new generation of Trident nuclear weapons.

He said: "These weapons are stored just miles from Glasgow so while they are here it is only right that Labour's candidates set out whether they are happy to have a new generation of nuclear weapons built to lie in the Clyde.

"The Milibands, Balls and Burnham have been keen to separate themselves from many of the actions of Labour in government, despite their cabinet roles, so what do they now think of spending £100 billion on nuclear weapons while cutting spending on public services?

"Diane Abbott has set out her opposition to Trident and I welcome that. It is time for the other four candidates to do the same."