A contender for the Scottish Labour deputy leadership has withdrawn from the contest.

Glasgow MSP Pauline McNeill pulled out even though she won enough nominations to make it to the next stage.

She said: "After talking to people and reflecting on the on the final ballot my sense is that the contest will be acutely  polarised within the party and that there is little scope for a voice in the middle of what will be a long contest."

A vacancy arose after Lesley Laird lost her Westminster seat at the general election , a defeat that also triggered her resignation as leader Richard Leonard’s number two.

McNeill and fellow MSP Jackie Baillie initially announced plans to run on a “job share” basis, but the proposal was deemed to be against party rules.

They instead agreed to run as individuals and looked set to be joined by Councillors Matt Kerr and Michael Marra.

However, Marra did not attract enough nominations and McNeill has also announced her intention to stand aside.

She told the Daily Record: "I put myself forward for Deputy Leader after many members of the party asked me to because we believed that I could bring the party together, united behind Richard Leonard. I then considered the proposal to stand on a joint ticket with my colleague Jackie Baillie.

"I strongly believed that would have an even better way to rebuild Scottish Labour in to a serious electoral force for change. When this proposal was refused, I put myself forward to stand in my own right."

She added:"The party in Scotland must change or die. There has never been a more crucial time for Scottish Labour. We must have answers on the way forward for Scotland’s future. We must offer a credible alternative vision for Scotland.

"I have decided to withdraw my nomination and focus my energies on how to get these issues resolved by engaging with people across the country, tackling the Government on their record and working for my constituents in Glasgow." 

McNeill’s departure means the contest will be a two-way contest between Kerr, a left wing councillor in Glasgow, and Baillie, a leading moderate.

Baillie was sacked from Leonard’s shadow cabinet in 2018 and has since become chair of group of Labour MSPs at Holyrood.

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