An OP is now in charge of the Labour Party in Scotland after former Pocklington School pupil Richard Leonard (73-80) was elected leader in a landslide victory.
Richard, who secured almost 57% of Scottish Labour Party votes, was almost immediately plunged into controversy when he admitted that although he’s lived north of the border since leaving Pocklington School, he would always support England in matches against Scotland.
The Yorkshire-born MSP for Central Scotland has always kept his accent, and when asked about his sporting allegiance, he said: “If it’s England v Scotland, I do support England. Every other game I will support either Scotland or England. I’m not going to make up something which would be inaccurate… my wife, who is Scottish, would bear that out.”
Richard, an ex-union chief who is seen as a close ally of Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn, won a scholarship to Pocklington School. He represented the School at cricket and rugby, and was also part of a team which took part in an eight-hour sponsored pedal cart race and “managed to buckle five wheels,” according to a contemporaneous report. It doesn’t say where – or whether – his team, called Radioactive, finished! Richard went on to study Economics and Politics at Stirling University.
Former Mayor of Pocklington, now Beverley’s Labour Leader, George McManus said he was delighted at Richard’s election. He added: “It’s great that a Yorkshireman and Old Pocklingtonian is now leading Labour’s Scottish revival.”
Richard has promised to build a movement for “real change” in Scotland, and is championing an end to the public sector pay cap, along with tax hikes and raising benefits.
In his victory speech on 18 November, he threw down the gauntlet to the SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon, saying: “My aim is to be the next Labour First Minister of Scotland.”