A Labour MSP has stepped down from a senior party post to concentrate on ousting a SNP Member of Parliament.

Margaret Curran lost Glasgow East with a 22.54% swing from Labour to the SNP in last year's Westminster by-election in that constituency.

However, she has been selected as Labour's candidate for the seat at the next general election, where she hopes to unseat the SNP's John Mason. Labour said yesterday she has stepped down from her front-bench post to concentrate on her commitments as an MSP and prepare for the election.

Ms Curran said: "Last summer I said the fightback starts here. I said that politics is a cause and not a career. I meant it then and I mean it now. The choice at the next general election is between a Labour or Tory government."

Labour leader Iain Gray said: "Margaret has made a terrific contribution to Labour's front bench in both government and opposition over the last eight years.

"She put up a gallant effort in Glasgow East last summer and that is why they wanted Margaret to stand again.

"The people of Glasgow East are guaranteed there is no-one better to fight their corner."

SNP MSP Anne McLaughlin said: "Having failed to meet her role and develop any new policies for Labour in Scotland it is no surprise she is now bailing out on Iain Gray.

"Margaret Curran should be careful before she gives up the Scottish Parliament for a Westminster seat she couldn't win the first time round and won't win the second. She should be spending her time working for her constituents in Baillieston not bailing out on them by campaigning for a Westminster election."

At that election, she added, Ms Curran would be apologising for Labour's "wretched" record in the city.

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