Richard Leonard is new Scottish Labour chief

Victor - Richard Leonard.
Victor - Richard Leonard.

The Scottish Labour leadership battle sparked by Kezia Dugdale’s shock decision to quit back in August has ended in victory for bookies’ favourite Richard Leonard.

His rival Anas Sarwar was dogged by a succession of news stories highlighting his links with family business United Wholesale, with complaints that it did not pay the living wage.

Loser - Anas Sarwar.

Loser - Anas Sarwar.

Mr Sarwar’s move to relinquish his shares in the firm - they’re being passed to his children - failed to make much difference.

Falkirks’ East and West constituency Labour Parties last month endorsed Mr Leonard’s campaign on the ticket “Richard Leonard - for real change”.

He has reportedly said his defeated rival will have “a vital role” to play in future.

Mr Leonard, a former GMB organiser, won a total of 56.7 per cent of the votes, against Mr Sarwar’s 43.3 per cent, on a turnout of 62.3 per cent.

Today’s announcement follows weeks of bitter in-fighting and reported claims of alleged plots and counter-plots, while interim leader Alex Rowley was suspended this week over allegations about his conduct.

Mr Leonard’s path to victory was secured by backing of all the major trade unions, and his overtly socialist agenda.

As a supporter of UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn his profile is seen as far more conducive to future Labour unity than was the case with Kezia Dugdale or what is seen as the centrist wing of the party which came to be personified by Mr Sarwar.

Labour’s new Scottish leader has said his aim - which he has in common with Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson - is to be Scotland’s next First Minister.

Meanwhile former leader Kezia Dugdale is reportedly heading for Australia to take part in the trivia TV show “I’m a Celebrity - Get Me Out of Here”, whose other contestants are to include Tory politician Boris Johnson’s father, Stanley.