Leader result follows Kilsyth hustings

Kilsyth’s Burngreen Hall was one of the last pit-stops for Labour’s Scottish leadership contest – which will be resolved on Saturday.

Until now reports have suggested Neil Findlay MSP and Jim Murphy MP were neck-and-neck in terms of support, but on Tuesday Margaret Curran MP, shadow Scottish secretary, have eleventh-hour support to Murphy.

Some commentators have also suggested former First Minister Lord Jack McConnell has also implicitly backed the East Renfrewshire MP by urging Labour members not to back a sharp shift to the left in policy terms.

These Labour establishment tokens of support are reckoned set to tip the balance in favour of Murphy.

He has dominated newspaper accounts of the contest, touting a series of radical ideas for Scottish government he would seek to put into practice if he became First Minister.

Neil Findlay has received strong union backing, and is widely seen as having a more left-centre, traditional approach to Labour policy.

The other contender, Sarah Boyack MSP, is said to be likely to boost her profile from the hustings contest – but not in a way likely to give her a leadership role in the forseeable future.

The choice of Kilsyth as a venue in which to stage a hustings meeting for the party faithful reflects the importance of the area’s once classic demographic – whose voters however registered a Yes majority in the referendum.

Mr Murphy, also backed by local Labour MP Gregg McClymont, says he is determined to work with Yes as well as No voters if he becomes leader of his party in Scotland.

He is clearly determined to try and win back the party’s lost support here and in other areas, such as Glasgow, which voted Yes in the referendum.

Cumbernauld and Kilsyth could well prove pivotal in the attempt to rebuild Labour fortunes in Scotland.