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A new book on Jeremy Corbyn’s time as Labour leader claims the Edinburgh South MP was on the brink of resigning from the party before changing his mind at the 11th hour. Left Out, by Gabriel Pogrund of the Sunday Times and Patrick Maguire of The Times, says he was considering becoming the eighth Labour MP to join the breakaway Independent Group – also known as Change UK – last year.
The Book reveals shocking revolutions of how Labour suffered one of the worst election defeats in British history in 2019 and how Jeremey Corbyn’s leadership changed
The Scottish Secretary was photographed standing at a podium with MPs from the now-defunct group, said to be a rehearsal of the group’s launch event.
A friend of Mr Murray said Ian wanted to support his friend, Luciana Burger, who left Labour to Change UK.
Mr Murray’s friend claimed “Corbyn stood by and did nothing”.
The friend added: “But he was right to stay and fight given the party is now under new management.”
Mr Murray said he decided to “stay and fight” for the party after a photo of him at a meeting with Independent Group MPs emerged.
He added: “All my life I’ve fought for a Labour government as I passionately believe in the values of my party.
“Many despaired and examined their own consciences over that period, and for very good reason. In the end, I decided to stay and fight for the party and I was absolutely right to do so.
“I’m dedicated to my constituents in Edinburgh South who I am proud to unstintingly serve and to my very supportive local party who are amazing.
“I’ve helped start the fightback and under Keir Starmer, we now have a renewed Labour Party ready to remove the Tories from office at the next election.
“Everyone who believes in a more equal and fair society must strive to make that happen.
“I will, as I’ve always done, do all I can to achieve that aim.”
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Mr Murray previously branded Jeremy Corbyn a “disaster” for the Labour Party and could have performed much better during the elections.
He also took a swipe at Labour’s lack of “credibility” in Scotland during a call with colleagues.
According to leaked comments from the Zoom call, he said: “It polls as the most powerful political slogan of all time, and we have to say let’s try and take this apart gradually.
“But the only way we can start is to have some credibility, and Labour in Scotland doesn’t have any, therefore people think we’re irrelevant.”
Annie Wells, former deputy leader of the Scottish Conservatives, said: “This is a withering verdict from Ian Murray about the sorry state of a once-proud Labour party.
“Communities across Scotland clearly agree with his assessment that Labour are no longer ‘credible’ or ‘relevant’, and that’s why so many pro-UK voters have backed the Scottish Conservatives in recent elections.
“Douglas Ross is leading the only party capable of providing the strong, united opposition to stop the SNP.”
But Mr Murray stressed that his comments on Labour’s credibility were related to the party “sitting on the fence” on Brexit and previous “equivocation” on Scottish independence.
It comes amid a week of crisis for Scottish Labour with pressure growing on leader Richard Leonard to stand down following poor ratings.
Four of his MSPs – James Kelly, Jenny Marra, Daniel Johnson and Mark Griffin have all united and call on Mr Leonard to go.
Meanwhile, Labour peer Lord Robertson said Mr Leonard stepping down would be “a start” in helping boost the party’s chances of winning the next general election.
But speaking today, Mr Leonard said that he had a “strong mandate” to lead Scottish Labour into next year’s Holyrood election despite the party languishing a distant third in the polls and winning just one seat in Scotland at the last general election.
He said he understood concern at the decline of the once-dominant party but added it “has been part of a long-term trend” that has seen five Scottish Labour leaders in the six years before his 2017 election.
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