Scottish deputy leader calls for Labour Party to unite around Corbyn

Happier days: Kezia Dugdale and Alex Rowley (pictured together last year) now differ in their stance over Jeremy Corbyn
Happier days: Kezia Dugdale and Alex Rowley (pictured together last year) now differ in their stance over Jeremy Corbyn

Scottish Labour’s deputy leader admits his party looks “even weaker and more divided” than the Tories following the Brexit vote.

Alex Rowley MSP called for colleagues to unite around Jeremy Corbyn in a bid to protect a country “brought to the brink of disaster” by the referendum result.

His stance defies that of leader Kezia Dudgale who earlier this week called on the UK leader to resign after MPs passed a no confidence motion by 172 votes to 40 at Westminster.

In a post on his website this morning, Mr Rowley said: “It was right that the man who had brought about this crisis in our country should resign, and when he [David Cameron] did my thoughts were ‘good - now for the rest of your government to follow.’ It seemed obvious, the Tories were finished.

“It was therefore with complete dismay over the following days that I witnessed Labour MPs and Labour people blame Jeremy Corbyn, and launch a coup against his leadership.”

Every Labour MP had a responsibility to be a collective strong UK opposition offering leadership and direction, regardless of their views of Corbyn, he said.

It was clear those who had fought for Brexit had “no plan”.

“We are witnessing the Tories at their weakest, in turmoil over a leadership election whilst the UK is leaderless, and now we sadly find ourselves in the same situation,” he commented.

“The Labour Party should have been speaking up for our country, putting Labour values first and working with nations, regions and cities to find a way forward. Instead we now look even weaker and more divided than the Tories.

“Even if those within the Labour Party who think Corbyn’s leadership is weak were right (I personally don’t think they are), they had an obligation to the country to put their views aside to address the immediate crisis.”

Earlier this week Ms Dugdale said it was “difficult” for Mr Corbyn to continue to do his job.

“If I lost the confidence of 80 per cent of my parliamentary colleagues, I could not do my job,” she added.

Mr Corbyn said he would not “betray” the members who voted for him by resigning as leader.