Labour Scottish Deputy Candidate Statements

Many thanks to both candidates for writing to our members in support of their nominations. We are pleased to present their statements here for you to read

Candidates for Scottish Labour Deputy Leader

Jackie Baillie

MSP for Dumbarton

"It is with deep respect for the work and witness of the Christian community here in Scotland that I seek your support in my candidacy for Deputy Leader of our Party. 

Throughout my years as a Labour representative I have received solidarity, support, and drawn inspiration from Christian congregations within our community. I’ve worked with local church groups in Dumbarton to organise foodbanks, I’ve marched with local parish members in Edinburgh to ‘Make Poverty History’, I’ve supported SCIAF and Christian Aid in their pursuit of trade justice. Year in, year out I have been humbled by the service they give to support people both here and abroad. 

All too often the call of conscience has forced Christians onto the front line as the last line of defence when political and policy decisions have failed the most vulnerable in our society. The Church’s prophetic message that we need to pursue justice helps explain why it is so urgent that the Scottish Labour Party step up to advance equality and build a society and economy with human dignity at its core.  

Next year we face a Scottish Parliament election that will shape our nation for generations to come. We can and must do better to ensure we can deliver on those values of compassion, decency and dignity.

I was born and raised as a Roman Catholic and I will always be grateful for how that faith shaped my values and my politics. I was brought up to understand that the Church is far more than four walls and a roof; it is a living, breathing community of people, working together to make the lives of their neighbours better.

That really is a responsibility for all of us, particularly those seeking to serve in elected office, to understand the simple enduring truth: That we are all our brothers', and our sisters' keeper.

I am determined to win not despite these values but because of them. Having had the honour and responsibility of serving as Scottish Labour’s Social Justice Minister, I know how powerful Government can be as a force for progress, and with the challenges we face today: the climate crisis, rising economic inequality, social injustices at home and all over the world, a Labour victory at the next election really matters.   

Martin Luther King said that: “our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”. As Christians, we cannot and must not be silent about the challenges we see in our communities. As Labour members, we cannot and must not be silent about the wrongs in society and within our own Party – whether that is calling out and stamping out any form of antisemitism, racism, bigotry, and hatred. As your Deputy Leader I will not be silent about any injustice: I will bring the Christian values from my upbringing, my experience, and my determination to uphold our socialist principles and ensure that they can once again be put into action by a Labour Government in Scotland."

Jackie Baillie

Matt Kerr

Councillor for Cardonald Ward

“I write to ask for your support in the up-coming Deputy Leadership election in Scottish Labour contest. We know the difference a string Labour Party can make, and we have a strong policy platform to build on, but sadly we have not been able to break through.

Scottish Labour’s difficulties didn’t emerge on the 12th December. The party of devolution has failed to get to grips with it for two decades. We have been going backwards since 1999 and never come to terms with losing power in 2007.

Our party cannot keep making the same decisions after each electoral defeat and expect a different result. That’s why I am standing to be Deputy Leader of Scottish Labour.

As a postal worker, councillor and former parliamentary candidate I recognise that politics doesn’t just happen in political chambers, it happens in every community and workplace. I stand with that experience, campaigning and delivering on issues as diverse as the exploitative payday loans, leading national debates on Basic Income, and delivering on the most successful fostering and adoption programme expansion in UK history.

It’s time for Labour to break out of the toxic bubbles of Holyrood and Westminster, and nurture our community roots once more. The work of Labour councillors in transforming their communities has not been recognised, nor have the talents of party members, activists and trade unionists. We must recognise and build on that talent in every strand of our movement and promote a new generation of political leaders to rebuild voters trust in Labour.

We need a new approach, and new answers fit for the new decade.

It’s time to move forward - diverse in ideas and united in ideals, confident in our case and in our cause.

I will work every day to deliver this as Deputy Leader of Scottish Labour.

In Comradeship”

Matt Kerr

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