Last week’s council election result here in East Lothian was an endorsement of the leadership my Labour colleagues have shown over the last five years. With all our candidates elected and Labour again securing the highest share of the vote, the outcome underlines the trust people here have in Labour councillors to be local champions for their area.
The result here was also part of wider progress for my party, which saw Labour overtake the Tories in both share of the vote and numbers of seats across Scotland. However, while a return to second place is welcome, Anas Sarwar is clear that he aspires to first place.
That is why we will continue to build our party and present the electorate with a choice between a forward looking and optimistic Labour Party or the bitterness and division of the SNP and Tories. That is the choice that will face people at the next General Election, whenever it comes.
There are so many serious problems and failings under the current administrations at both Westminster and Holyrood. Poverty continues to spiral, with foodbanks busier than ever, teachers are taking resources into the classroom and the NHS is on its knees across the UK, despite the incredible efforts of staff. The ferries fiasco has exposed the ineptitude of the SNP government, while the Rwandan refugee policy lays bare the Tories’ heartlessness and incompetence.
East Lothian is set to be an important part of the progress towards the change we need. Our current MP sits for a party that voters have rejected and does not even bother to vote in parliament. The people of East Lothian deserve better.
Over the coming months and years we will work even harder to persuade people that what the country needs is a Labour Prime Minister in the UK and a Labour First Minister here in Scotland, working together to deliver positive change for the whole country.