FORMER prime minister Gordon Brown will help launch his former agent's bid to win the Cowdenbeath by-election today.

Alex Rowley is contesting the vacant seat for Labour following the death of the party's MSP Helen Eadie.

The MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath and Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont will both be in the constituency to help Mr Rowley officially launch his campaign ahead of the poll on January 23.

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Mrs Eadie died in November last year from cancer.

Mr Rowley, the leader of Fife Council, said: "This is a by-election that none of us wanted. Helen Eadie's death was sudden and she will continue to be missed.

"She was a true people's champion and a champion for Fife. Much of her work was ensuring that ordinary Fifers' voices were heard and that is a record of which Fife Labour can be proud."

He pledged to contest the by-election on the "issues facing Fife families today", including issues such as "how we get more young people into work, how we get more women into full-time work, improving childcare, building more affordable homes and how we continue to get investment into Fife".But he added: "We will also talk about how the SNP have put Scotland on pause to fight the referendum. No longer do we have a government in Edinburgh, we merely have a referendum campaign.

"Our clear message to the SNP is this: use the powers you have now to make the changes that Scots want to see."