Members of East Lothian Labour Party welcomed Scottish Labour Leader Johann Lamont MSP to Prestonpans Labour Club this week to hear her speak about Labour’s vision for social justice in Scotland.

Ms Lamont gave a powerful speech about the party’s values, including its long commitment to achieving a fairer society. She also spoke about Labour’s current mission to protect the most disadvantaged from cuts inflicted by the Tory-led Government in Westminster and SNP Government in Holyrood.

Around seventy local supporters attended the meeting, including the county’s former MP and MSP, John Home Robertson. They were welcomed to the event by Harry Cairney, Chair of Prestonpans Labour Club. Iain Gray MSP then introduced Ms Lamont to the meeting by paying tribute to her personal qualities and leadership skills.

After her speech, the county’s MP Fiona O’Donnell thanked MS Lamont for coming to East Lothian again and setting out the case for a fairer Scotland within the United Kingdom. She also reflected on the emphasis Johann’s speech placed on values, rather than identity, which is the obsession of Scottish Nationalists.

Questions were posed to Ms Lamont on a range of subjects including the SNP Scottish Government’s hypocrisy on issues such as windfarms, its failure to deliver enough apprenticeships for young people, and what more can be done to protect local democracy in East Lothian and stop the SNP Government trampling over local decisions.

Speaking after Ms Lamont’s speech, Iain Gray MSP said:

“It was a real pleasure to formally welcome Johann to East Lothian for the first time since she became the leader of Scottish Labour. She has a deep understanding of the historic role of the Labour Party in delivering social justice and a clear vision for what that should mean in today’s Scotland.

“Johann is challenging the SNP on their failure to ensure fairness and putting Alex Salmond and his colleagues under increasing pressure to justify policies which most benefit the better off. People in East Lothian are feeling the effect of these policies with college places being cut, jobs for young people in short supply, fuel poverty increasing and public services squeezed.

“I look forward to continuing to work closely with Johann and her team to stand up for the interests of East Lothian and its people in Holyrood and make the case for a fairer Scotland within the UK.”

Fiona O’Donnell MP said:

“Having worked for Johann in the past, I am well aware of the personal and political qualities she brings to the role of Scottish Labour Leader and it was great to be able to welcome her to Prestonpans Labour Club. She has been such a good role model for me as her politics are informed and motivated by what she hears and sees in the communities she serves.”

“She spoke eloquently and passionately about Labour’s commitment to social justice and set out her vision for putting the needs of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged first. She also gave us a timely reminder that, while our politics are grounded in fairness, equality and social justice, the SNP’s are about identity and self-interest.

“I also welcome the fact that she talked about devolution meaning more than just how the Scottish Parliament operates, but that it must also be about devolving power down to local government and communities as well. This is particularly important just now in places like East Lothian which are suffering from decisions made at Holyrood.”

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