Richard Leonard is steeped in the Labour and trade union movement. He has been campaigning for working people and for real change his entire working life. His radical agenda for real change stands for extending democracy, building a sustainable economy and winning fundamental economic, and social and environmental change.
As a trade unionist for decades right up to the present day, and now, as a Labour Member of the Scottish Parliament for Central Scotland, has been on the side of working people and their fight for a more equal society.
Richard worked as Assistant Secretary of the STUC where he was responsible for economic affairs in a post he held for five years. Before that he worked with the highly-respected socialist Member of the European Parliament, Alex Falconer, as a researcher and campaigner.
Richard has shown his consistent and principled dedication to the fresh ideas that can change lives for the better – and the organisation to make it happen.
In 1996 Richard took up the role of an organiser for the GMB union representing workers in manufacturing, commercial and public services across Scotland. This has included workers in the food and drink industry, contract cleaning and catering and Scottish Water.
As part of Richard’s time as a trade unionist he represented workers and won numerous cases and organised the union’s retired members in Scotland.
In the course of Richard’s daily fight for workplace rights and fairness he has met and helped thousands of people and he will use this experience and knowledge as a Labour First Minister to deliver real change for Scotland.
Richard has been deeply involved in the Labour and trade union movement He was first elected to the Labour Party Scottish Executive Committee in 1997 and is a former chair of the Scottish Labour Party. He has been an agent, campaigner and candidate for Scottish Labour. He was the agent in Stirling in the 1997 General Election where Labour famously unseated Michael Forsyth.
For many years Richard has been a regular writer and campaigner on the economy: he has written extensively on the Scottish economy, contributing to publications and campaigns as diverse as the Scottish Left Review, the Red Paper on Scotland, for the Labour Party Socialist Environment Resources Association (SERA) pamphlets “Renewable Energy” (2003) and “Sustainable Jobs” (2002). His published articles include in the Fraser of Allander Quarterly Economic Commentary and Scottish Affairs.
Richard is a founding member of the recently-established Keir Hardie Society, vice chair of the Scottish Labour History Society, and a member of the William Morris Society.
Richard served on the Board of the Govan Initiative in Glasgow and then the Glasgow South West Regeneration Agency since 2000. He was a Friends of the Earth (Scotland) Board member from 2005 to 2008.
His track record shows his dedication to fresh thinking and new ideas.
He studied Politics and Economics at Stirling University.