The pressure on Jeremy Corbyn to step down as leader of the Labour Party has grown with a host of former election hopefuls saying it’s time to go.
Sixty former parliamentary candidates have penned a letter to their leader calling on him to resign in the wake of the EU Brexit vote.
The list include Melanie Ward, who stood in the Glenrothes and Central Fife constituency at the 2015 poll. She is one of nine Scottish candidates - who all lost - to be included in the letter’s signatories.
It comes after a host of resignations from the Shadow Cabinet amid concerns over Corbyn’s lack of leadership during the campaign which culminated in the historic ‘out’ vote last Thursday.
The letter paid tribute to his service to the party - but said it was time he went.
“We believe we must accept that we cannot achieve our shared ambitions for the future of the United Kingdom without a leader able to command the confidence of the country. That is why we believe that the Labour Party must seek a change of leadership,’’ it said.
It says the party ‘‘cannot win an election unless the country believes that (Its)) leader is a credible Prime Minister, who they can trust to both lead our country on a world stage and help their family at home.’’
It continued: ‘‘The Labour Party must have a strong and positive vision for the country as a whole. We have to be a party of every region, age and background.
‘‘We have come to believe that were a General Election to be held today, Labour would fail these two tests.
‘‘We admire the service that Jeremy Corbyn has offered to our Party as leader in the past year and his long service as an MP and within the Union movement. However, we believe we must accept that we cannot achieve our shared ambitions for the future of the United Kingdom without a leader able to command the confidence of the country.
‘‘That is why we believe that the Labour Party must seek a change of leadership.’’
Meanwhile, Alex Rowley MSP - former Fife Council leader, and now deputy leader of the party at the Scottish Parliament - has hit out at his colleagues who quit.
On Twitter he said: ‘‘Disappointing that at a time when we need unity, focus & strength @IanMurrayMP and fellow plotters put self interest before needs of country.’’
>> The nine Scottish candidates who signed the letter included Gemma Doyle (West Dunbartonshire), Sean Morton (Moray), Kenny Young (Midlothian), Melanie Ward (Glenrothes & Central Fife), Russell Brown (Dumfries & Galloway), Pamela Nash (Airdrie & Shotts), Dame Ann Begg (Aberdeen South), Willie Bain (Glasgow North East), and Gordon Banks (Ochil & South Perthshire).