Leonard lays out landmark Labour transport policy

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard delivered a well received address to his annual conference, and laid out how a future government under his leadership would support universal free bus transport. 

Speaking to party members, he announced a series new policies the party will take forward. 

Leonard outlined his vision for Scotland to the Scottish Labour party’s annual conference in Dundee, in a speech that took note of the position of the party and the policies it would take into government in 2021.

Introduced by Living Rent activist and the BAME officer for Scottish Young Labour Enas Magzoub, Leonard called for the party to remain a broad church. Referencing recent resignations from MPs like Chuka Umunna, Leonard said anyone leaving the party was not a cause for celebration, adding that Labour must be a home for both Fabians and Marxists, trade unionists and feminists.

However Leonard also sent a warning to any elected official thinking of leaving for the "independent group", reminding them that they were not elected on their own merit, but by the strength of the Labour movement.

Speaking at his second conference as party leader, Leonard also talked about the successes of Scottish Labour since his last address to members in Dundee, mentioning the inquiry into the 1984 miners strike, repealing the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act, and socialist Scottish Labour councils such as North Ayrshire putting a mental health councillor in every school.

To a roaring reaction, Leonard proclaimed that he makes no distinction between Ruth Davidson and Theresa May, reminding conference of the immigration vans sent out by May as Home Secretary. The Scottish Labour leader then proudly stated that if this was the centre ground, he was "proud to be on the left wing" .

The speech was rounded off by the policies Scottish Labour will advocate this year. Speaking about tackling Scotland’s problem with land ownership, he said there was a landed gentry in Scotland, adding that some of them even sit on the Tory benches in Holyrood.

Finally, the Scottish leader outlined Scottish Labour’s policy on public transport. Building on Labour's support for a nationalised bus service, he announced the party would support free bus travel for under 25s on day 1 of a Scottish Labour government, with place to move towards full universal free bus travel for everyone in Scotland.

The Scottish Labour Leader finished his speech saying, “let’s have idealism, let’s have conviction in our ideas”.

The strongly socialist message layed out by Leonard was well recieved by young members in attendance, Alison Campbell Glass, the Vice-Chair of Scottish Young Labour, said: “It was a fantastic speech and it was really enthusing to see a Labour leader in Scotland talk so proudly about socialism. Policies like free bus travel are exactly what young people need, and 5 years ago you would be laughed out of conference for even suggesting it, Leonard has changed all of that”.


Image: Scottish Labour 

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