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Scottish Labour Party accepts it must change

  • @Paul_Bignell

The Scottish Labour Party has agreed to sweeping changes months after a disastrous showing in the Holyrood election.

In a special one-day conference this weekend attended by 500 delegates, the party agreed unanimously to beef up the role of a future leader – effectively distancing it from Westminster.

The change was agreed despite some concerns that "splitting" from London will play into the hands of the SNP, which is pushing for independence.

Newly appointed shadow Scottish Secretary Margaret Curran said the party is at a "crossroads" and has had to accept some difficult truths. "We were taught a lesson by the people of Scotland and it's one that still hurts," she said.

The special conference comes almost six months after Labour's heavy loss to the SNP in the Scottish Parliament elections.

Labour MP Ian Davidson, who was accused of using intimidating language against SNP colleague Eilidh Whiteford last week, launched his deputy leadership bid at the conference. Mr Davidson was alleged to have told Ms Whiteford she would be "getting a doing". The MP for Glasgow South West denies trying to threaten her.