SCOTTISH Labour leadership frontrunner Richard Leonard has the backing of a senior party figure who backed a Yes vote in 2014.

Fife councillor Mary Lockhart is among more than 100 senior people involved in Labour who have signed an open letter giving their support to the Central Scotland MSP.

Other signatories include present and former MPs and MSPs, trade union leaders at both a Scottish and UK level, supporters on key Labour bodies including the SEC and NEC, and writers, academics and campaigners.

The letter said: “Richard Leonard is the best candidate for Scottish Labour leader. He stands for transforming a society and economy that currently produces so much poverty and inequality, not simply managing the present system in a better way.”

Mark Millar, the writer, Cathy Jamieson, the former justice minister, and trade union leaders Len McCluskey, the Unite general secretary and Dave Watson, the Unison’s Scottish organiser, are among the other people who signed the document.

Leonard, who is on the left of the party, also has the backing of most of the Scottish Labour MPs, including Danielle Rowley, Hugh Gaffney and Paul Sweeney.

Labour MP Stella Creasy yesterday announced she backed Leonard’s rival Anas Sarwar to succeed Kezia Dugdale who stood down dramatically in August. Creasy said the Glasgow MSP and former MP was committed to social justice and backed his stance on keeping the UK in Europe’s single market.

With voting underway, Creasy said she was “rooting” for her former Westminster colleague, who is seen as the centrist candidate.

The Walthamstow MP said: “I’ve worked with Anas for many years and know first-hand how committed he is to social justice and how hard he works to make it happen.”

Creasy, who lost out to Tom Watson for the post of Labour deputy leader in 2015, added: “Across the UK our shared future needs people prepared to speak up for what’s right, and his stance on the single market is a case in point. The biggest issue facing our generation is Brexit, as hundreds of thousands of jobs across the UK depend on permanent membership of the European single market.”