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Head of Scottish Labour to resign next month after poll defeat
May 16, 2015 / 1:46 PM / in 2 years

Head of Scottish Labour to resign next month after poll defeat

Scottish Labour Party leader Jim Murphy makes a speech after failing to be re-elected as a member of parliament for East Renfrewshire in Scotland, Britain May 8, 2015. REUTERS/Graham Stuart

LONDON (Reuters) - The leader of Scotland’s Labour Party, Jim Murphy, announced on Saturday he will resign, the latest high-profile British political leader to fall victim to the surprise outright Conservative election win last week.

Murphy’s Scottish Labour suffered a crushing defeat at the polls, losing all but one of its 41 parliamentary seats in Scotland and contributing to Labour’s wider failure.

Murphy, one of the many Labour lawmakers who failed to keep his seat last week, said he would hand in his resignation at a party meeting next month, bearing the consequences of Labour’s defeat in Scotland after only five months in the job.

“I will be standing down at the next meeting of the Scottish Labour Party’s executive,” Murphy told journalists in Glasgow.

Minutes earlier, Murphy had survived a tight no-confidence vote within his own party, with 17 votes of Scottish Labour’s executive going in his favour and 14 votes against him.

Murphy’s resignation came after Labour’s Ed Miliband and the Liberal Democrats’ Nick Clegg stepped down and UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage resigned for three days.

“I want my successor in place over the summer and to be able to start campaigning for 2016 and beyond,” he said.

Murphy said he would table a plan at next month’s party meeting on how to win back Scottish voters and what challenges the party was facing.

Pressure from within the party for Murphy to resign had grown in recent days as some argued fresh leadership was needed to rebuild Scottish Labour following the disastrous election performance.

Miliband, in announcing his resignation, took personal responsibility for the left-leaning party’s failed bid to enter government.

“As a cabinet minister and leader of his party in Scotland, Jim has been a hugely important figure in the Labour Party,” said Harriet Harman, acting leader of the Labour Party, in a statement on Saturday.

Reporting by Karolin Schaps; Editing by Rosalind Russell and Tom Heneghan

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