Confusion surrounded the economic policy of the Scottish Labour party today after Holyrood leader Iain Gray refused to back the delaying of Tory public spending cuts in Scotland.

The leader of the Holyrood Labour group was appearing on The Politics Show Scotland where he was repeatedly asked by host Glenn Campbell if he supported the Scottish government’s decision to defer the cuts until next year.

The SNP have argued that immediate implementation of the cuts could undermine the fragile economic recovery in Scotland.  The party have also pointed out that it would cause unnecessary complications to already agreed departmental budgets.

Labour fought the recent general election campaign attacking the Conservative plan to implement huge public spending cuts immediately.  Labour argued that to remove such a large amount of money from the economy this year risked plunging the UK back into recession.

Demands by First Minister Alex Salmond throughout the election campaign resulted in concessions from the Tories who said that Scotland, along with the other devolved administrations, could delay the implementation of cuts until next year.

The failure of Iain Gray to back the cuts deferral blows Labour’s economic promises of the campaign out of the water and leaves the Scottish Labour leadership open to accusations that party policy North of the border is transient, being made up on the hoof and is steered more by an anti-SNP agenda than anything else.

The interview also saw Mr Gray refuse to back anyone in the forthcoming Labour leadership contest; however he did demand that the Labour party grant him a place on the national executive arguing that such a move would “bind” the party together.

See Iain Gray being interviewed here:

Meanwhile, doubts continue to linger over claims made by Mr Gray at Thursday’s First Ministers Questions.  The Labour leader had accused Skills Development Scotland of actively planning to spend £555,000 on changing their name to ‘Scotland – The Works’.

The claim was denied within hours by the agency who accused the Labour leader of “getting the wrong end of the stick”.  Labour then claimed to have documents dated 27th April they said backed the allegation, BBC Scotland political editor Brian Taylor also reported that Labour had published the documents.

However this resulted in a further denial by SDS who explained that:
“The document prepared on April 27 2010 was discussed by the Senior Management Team on April 29 2010.
“The decision taken, in line with the decision on the 30 March 2010, was to consolidate all existing brands under the Skills Development Scotland corporate brand.”

Despite emailing the Labour leader’s parliamentary office last Friday about the documents, Newsnet Scotland has been unable to trace any such publication and still awaits a reply.


# Lian 2010-05-30 22:21
The two faced "thing" called Labour united.

On the SDS issue, what a shower. This is indeed is worthy to ask the question if the Labour leader in Scotland, Mr Gray, did actually mis-lead the chamber. If not surely it is incompetence.
This is not worthy debating of any country and must surely be against sensible and democratic rules.
# m4rkyboy 2010-05-31 01:02
I watched the politics show this morning and had a good laugh as Glenn Campbell asked over and over if Iain Gray agreed with the deferral of the 332milion cuts till next year.Campbell tried rewording the question and Gray kept on making the same idiotic reply again and again.My father,who is a lifelong labour supporter,was shaking his head and smiling at this display.'arsehole' was his opinion,'why on earth is this numpty in charge?' he said.I predict that this will get no coverage in the papers or TV.
In fact,the SDS/Iain Gray/Labour debacle was reported today in the 'Scottish' mail on sunday as 'QUANGO SPENDS CASH FOR JOBLESS ON CELEBRITIES AND STATIONERY,crit ics hit out at waste of money as youth unemployment soars' it never once mentioned Iain Gray misleading parliament in the article-the main reason this is in the public eye.It also failed to mention the consolidation of the other brands under SDS.This is moving into Orwellian territory-such blatantly biased journalism is an insult to the people of scotland.I have been trying to convince my dad of this for years and he is starting to come round to my logic.He now openly laughs at attempts by the press and media to smear the SNP and the independence movement although,unfort unately,he still remains a unionist :(
# DouglasDaniel 2010-05-31 01:25
You know, it really shouldn't have come to this. Why is it being left to Newsnet Scotland and others to take Labour to task about things? This should be the media's job. I know we all realise the Scottish media is biased and it's an easy thing to say, but when you stop and think about it, it really is an utter disgrace that this is what it's come to - the Scottish people having to perform the role of the media for themselves.
# Holebender 2010-05-31 07:44
Did Glenn Campbell ask Gray about the SDS business?
# 1scot 2010-05-31 08:47
No, he had a cosy chat as usual.
No hard questions. EBC normal behaviour.
# Holebender 2010-05-31 08:53
It doesn't sound so cosy if Campbell kept pressing him on the spending cuts issue.
# 1scot 2010-06-02 14:59
No mention of the SDS debacle, made it very cosy.
# RTP 2010-05-31 07:45
I hope you are going to keep emailing Gray's office until you get a reply,great reading this only place to get honest reporting.
Clare,been in touch with channel 4 yet??
# Clare 2010-05-31 22:50
RTP hi. Work In Progress. ; )
# Mac 2010-05-31 10:02
What does Iain Gray stand for? He seems to flip-flop on every issue. Taking one stance one day - the opposite stance the day after. He is a reaction politician, not pro-active. His blunders over NHS cuts and the SDS highlight that. As such he is a weak politician depending on others bolstering his leadership.

PS Brian Taylor has certainly been outed over the SDS fiasco. If Iain Gray cannot produce the document that Brian Taylor claims he saw before the next FMQs, then both will be charged with colluding to tell and foster lies at Holyrood.
# G.Macp 2010-05-31 11:13
It's just a pity at FMQ's that the FM doesn't get to ask a few questions of the poor oppostion!
That, I would love to see!! It would be the start of thr great fight back!
How would the press/media rspond to I.Gray not being able to justify his position, the Royal leak outcome,Glasgow Council, to name just a few!
# Diabloandco 2010-06-02 18:34
I had missed that interview so thank you Newsnet - i think!

He is tortuously stupid is he not?

May I agree that it is ridiculous that Newsnet Scotland is the only "media" outlet where we can learn the truth.

Well done Newsnet.
# kevinad72 2010-06-04 10:39
Quite amazing, in any other country Iain Gray wouldn't survive as a council leader. What a joke.

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