Former prime minister Gordon Brown has backed MSP Jackie Baillie to be the next Scottish Labour deputy leader.
The ex-Labour leader said Ms Baillie, who has been the MSP for Dumbarton since 1999, was “Labour to the core”.
He revealed his backing as voting in the deputy leadership contest got under way, with Ms Baillie up against Glasgow councillor Matt Kerr for the post.
Mr Brown said: “I have supported Jackie Baillie on the five occasions she has been elected and served the people with great distinction as member of the Scottish Parliament for Dumbarton.
“As the one MSP standing for deputy leader of the Labour Party in Scotland, Jackie has a positive plan for getting Scottish Labour back into power in 2021 that focuses on the NHS, schools and quality jobs, and she supports the Scottish and UK constitutional changes we want to see.
“Jackie has proved that she is Labour to the core.”
Ms Baillie welcomed the endorsement, saying: “Gordon knows better than anyone what Labour can achieve when it rebuilds and wins power, and I’m honoured to have his support.
“We need to change to win. That’s why I have put myself forward to be deputy leader – to help unite the party and make the changes we need. We cannot carry on with business as usual – we need change now.”
She added: “As Scottish Labour members across Scotland receive their ballots, I’m asking to serve as deputy leader so I can work with everyone in our movement to rebuild and fight our way back to power.
“It is only in power that we can deliver our Labour values.”