Labour Party chief in Scotland joins calls for party to ditch national leader Jeremy Corbyn

Scottish Labour Party leader Kezia Dugdale is appealing to party members to back challenger Owen Smith over Mr Jeremy Corbyn.
Scottish Labour Party leader Kezia Dugdale is appealing to party members to back challenger Owen Smith over Mr Jeremy Corbyn.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) - The head of Britain's opposition Labour Party in Scotland has joined calls to replace the organisation's national leader, saying left-wing veteran lawmaker Jeremy Corbyn cannot heal deep divisions and win the next election.

Scottish Labour Party leader Kezia Dugdale's appeal to party members to back challenger Owen Smith over Mr Corbyn follows a similar call from London Mayor Sadiq Khan over the weekend. "We can't pin our hopes on a leadership who speak only to the converted, rather than speaking to the country as a whole," Ms Dugdale said in an article published in Scotland's Daily Record newspaper on Monday (Aug 22).

While Mr Corbyn is favourite to win the leadership contest because of strong support from thousands of members who voted for him last year, most Labour lawmakers say his left-wing views leave the party with little chance of winning power.

Mr Corbyn was also criticised by fellow lawmakers for failing to persuade enough Labour supporters to vote to stay in the European Union in the June 23 referendum.

"I don't think Jeremy can unite our party and lead us into government. He cannot appeal to a broad enough section of voters to win an election," Ms Dugdale said in her article in the Daily Record.

Labour was due to start sending ballot papers for the leadership election to members on Monday. The outcome of the vote is expected on Sept 24.