Jim Murphy has resigned as Scottish Labour leader after narrowly surviving a vote of no confidence in his leadership from the party’s ruling NEC by three votes.
He will leave in June, allowing a new leader to take over in the summer.
He told reporters: “I’ll take some time to reflect, I’ll always be on call if anyone seeks any point in calling me, I won’t be a back-seat driver, I will offer my permanent, unconditional support to my successor. I will never leave the Labour Party – I love the Labour Party and the Labour Party will be back, it’ll be back strong because it’s built from an idea, not from machine politics. We’ll be back, we’ll win again.”
He criticised Len McCluskey of the Unite union, who had called for him to go, saying that the union boss had blamed him for the wider election defeat of Labour. “That is a grotesque insult to the Scottish Labour party. It’s a grotesque insult to thousands of volunteers from someone who pays occasional fleeting visits to our great country.”
Murphy indicated he would recommend a one member, one vote policy for choosing his replacement.
His rivals paid tribute to him on Twitter, with the SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon saying Murphy “deserves credit for standing up for what he believes in”.
I wish Jim Murphy all the very best for the future. Leadership is not easy and he deserves credit for standing up for what he believes in.
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) May 16, 2015
The Conservatives’ Scottish leader, Ruth Davidson said he leaves a “tough gig” for whoever comes next:
Jim Murphy announces a managed exit in order to help the party, which is to his credit. But leaves a tough gig for whoever comes next.
— Ruth Davidson MSP (@RuthDavidsonMSP) May 16, 2015