By a Newsnet reporter
A second senior official has announced he is to leave his post with the beleaguered Scottish Labour party today as inner tensions threaten to engulf Johann Lamont’s leadership.
Nearly one year on from Ms Lamont’s election as replacement for former leader Iain Gray, the party has announced that Colin Smyth is to step down from his post as general secretary of the Scottish Labour Party.

The shock announcement followed weekend revelations that another senior advisor had been suspended for “insubordination”. 

Rami Okasha, a former special advisor to Labour MP Jim Murphy, was suspended last month following claims of a turf war between one London controlled Glasgow based group and another controlled by Scottish Labour’s Holyrood faction.

There were claims that the Glasgow group, based at John Smith House, considered Westminster based Labour MPs and Glasgow Labour councillors to have seniority over Johann Lamont’s group of MSPs.

Mr Smyth, who is also a Dumfries and Galloway councillor, has been in his position for four years.  He will officially leave his post in October, when Labour holds its Autumn Conference.

In a statement Mr Smyth said: "There have been many highs in my time with the party, including helping deliver by-election and general election victories, and the recent local elections has shown that Scottish Labour is beginning the fight-back after the disappointment of the last Scottish Parliamentary elections.

"I fully support Johann in the task of rebuilding the Scottish Labour Party and will serve that cause in any way I am asked to.  I wish her and all my colleagues well.

"This may be the end of my time as general secretary but it is not the end of my commitment to the Scottish Labour Party."

Whilst refusing to comment on reports of an internal rift, speaking to the BBC Johann Lamont said Mr Smyth would be missed at the party HQ in Glasgow, and added:

"He has served the party well and I am delighted that he will continue to serve the party as a councillor in Dumfries and, I am sure, in any other role the party calls upon him to fulfil in the future."

The SNP responded to the announcement by ridiculing Ms Lamont’s leadership credentials.

An SNP Spokesperson said: “Mr Smyth’s sudden departure comes following a weekend of reports about Labour factionalism and infighting in Scotland, and the suspension of a senior party official.

“It is ironic that Labour - which is following a Tory-led campaign trying to convince us that we are better with a Tory-led government in London taking decisions for Scotland - cannot even get its Scottish and Westminster groups to work together.”
“But much of the focus is still on Johann Lamont.  After a year in charge, Labour have fallen even further behind the SNP than in their disastrous election showing of 2011.  If Ms Lamont cannot even lead her own party properly, she can never seriously aspire to lead the country.”


# call me dave 2012-09-18 17:04
When the dust settles this will have resulted in either a simple change of tyres for the Labour party in Scotland or, more seriously, the whole transmission system had finally siezed up.

I hope it's the latter because I don't want SLAB to start sorting things out just yet a while.

Certainly a power struggle going on but who's winning?
# Lucas 2012-09-18 17:18
Certainly addsa twist to the idea of 'Better Together' when Labour party folk get on better with the Tories than with each other!
# border reiver 2012-09-18 17:24
Labour can try and put whatever spin and gloss on it but it obvious for all to see that Lamont is not up to the job, she was catapulted into her post for no other reason than she is dependant on others for script writing, PMQs, policy writing etc, making her so reliant on her Westminster masters she automaticaly falls into line. does anyone realy believe that she is in charge of Scottish Labour?
# alasdairmac 2012-09-18 18:16
If I'm reading this correctly, both Smyth and Okasha were Westminster's men in Scotland and so if I'm right then Lamont and her MSP grouping has probably to be given the credit for forcing them out.

Now, let's think about who else are Westminster's men in Scotland: Darling and Davidson will do to start with and so could it just be that Lamont and her MSPs are not too happy with Darling being Better Together and with Davidson's belligerent stupidity bringing them into disrepute? The absence of any of them from active participation in the No Campaign front line or of coming out in defence of Davidson can maybe now been seen in context.
# clootie 2012-09-18 18:37

I think you give them too much credit for thinking. They have an animal like survival instinct to survive - nothing more - form a pack and attack.
# Mark MacLachlan 2012-09-18 18:42
Essential advice for all Indyref supporters in the run up to this weekends march for Independence.
# GrassyKnollington 2012-09-18 18:51
Ha ha great stuff Mark but I want to know why Iceland Sal's been turned into a bloke....
# Mark MacLachlan 2012-09-18 19:11
Tried morphing La Bird into line drawing...wisnae happening!
# xyz 2012-09-18 18:50
This was reported in a few seconds by the dubious Bird on the doubtful BBC. I wondered why, I still don't know. Context missing. One of their own?

Maybe this is all leading up to the glorious news that Lamont has taken full control of Labour, and isn't she good at First Minister's questions. :)

To Mark above: Brilliant!
# Mark MacLachlan 2012-09-18 21:45
Ifangyou. Nearly as good as the Queens result!
# Roll_On_2011 2012-09-18 19:25
border reiver

does anyone realy believe that she is in charge of Scottish Labour?

Naw, its all cosmetic.

The rules and regulations for the Labour Party, wether its in England, Scotland or Wales, are overseen by the National Executive Council (NEC) a body that interpret them and executes them on a day to day basis.

Even Elmer Fudd realised that the power ‘Labour in Scotland’ required was invested in that body:

But from Elmers utterings in May 2010 that body has not changed to accommodate any change in the Labour Party in Scotland since then.

In fact I remember Red Ed’s words at their 2011 Conference… The fightback starts in Scotland... their conference was in Liverpool. We then got the NuLabour wipe out at the following Scottish Ellections
# Rafiki 2012-09-18 23:16
Notice from Herald headline shown on Newsnight Scotland they are running it as "Lamont tightens grip on Party".

Obviously printing the press release.
# DJ 2012-09-19 06:56
Well the article is written by Magnus Gardham so no difficulty in getting a friendly headline.
# Seagetagrip 2012-09-19 07:04
I posted "Gardham tightens Red Top grip on the Hertald"
I do not think it will get past their mods.
# alasdairmac 2012-09-19 10:27
No, its not there Seagetagrip. But all comments published so far (11:20) under the article have been very decidedly anti-Labour. Obviously no Gardham input to the moderation process - yet.

Interesting to note from listening to Gardham on STV last night that his lack of a grasp on the reality of Scottish politics might be down to the fact that he's no fae these pairts.
# pictlandman 2012-09-19 09:30
i watched Scotland tonight last night and listened to the discussion on the latest developments on the labour party dont know who the two people involved in the discussion were but after saying how well Lamont handles Salmond at pmq and has established herself as a good leader .... do they actually believe in what they are saying or am i seeing and hearing something different?.
# proudscot 2012-09-19 11:30
"Scottish Labour" like the Loch Ness Monster, exists only in the imaginations of our Scottish press and media. Neither exist in reality, but at least Nessie attracts tourists. What use is Lamont's Labour by comparison? Mind you, they do have some real-life political dinosaurs in their ranks, many of which now inhabit the Jurassic Park of the Westminster Labour benches.
# Seagetagrip 2012-09-19 11:42
I think he has now interfered! The story about Lamont getting a grip has now been demoted to last on the other news from headline. They cannae take it eh!
# Barontorc 2012-09-19 14:17
Saw Magnus Gardham on STV last night almost wetting himself in happy collusion with John Mackay and another guest as they talked up Labour in Scotland. Whhhatt!

Gardham as the new political editor of the Herald is an appointment which decidedly puts another nail into their coffin.

Just what planet are the movers and shakers of the Herald from? Their circulation sales are dropping like a stone, yet they rub more salt into their festering sore of political partiality by bringing this openly Labourite clown on board. People will buy their paper if there is decent investigative journalism that can be seen to be objective and they prove it in black and white.

What will this guy bring? Is his appointment being sponsored by some unionist slush fund - same question goes for the Scotsman's suicidal finger-in-the-dyke position.

All indicators show they are literally dying on their feet and if not already on their knees any continuation with this absurd unionist mantra will put them down for good.
# heraldnomore 2012-09-19 15:42
..... and as we know they have already voluntarily re-defined themselves as a regional newspaper, purely to avoid posting monthly circulation figures and having them published with the rest of the nationals.

On top of that The Gardham Effect will simply see the graph plummet in a steeper curve; it's just that they won't let us see it until six months have post, assuming it lasts that long. Sad, sad, sad, but on the basis of recent history so very deserving
# alasdairmac 2012-09-19 18:24
Back to the original story for a moment good folks of NNS as I've just had a vision of Johann Lamont's new powerful leadership of all she surveys and it depicts that renowned gentleman of Westminster Ian Davidson on bended knee before her pledging his everlasting loyalty. Aye, right

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