RICHARD Leonard has been accused of making a series of schoolboy errors in his first major speech as Scottish Labour leader.

Mr Leonard suggested Scottish Water was not in the public sector and ought to be taken into public ownership, when it is already a publicly owned company answerable to ministers.

The SNP also accused him of making others gaffes over rail and bus ownership.

The row came after Mr Leonard deviated from his prepared script as he spoke alongside UK labour leader Jeremy Corbyn at an event in Glasgow.

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Calling for a massive expansion of public ownership, he was meant to say: “The people of Scotland deserve public services owned and publicly accountable: our railways, buses, energy and water.”

However what he actually said was: “The people of Scotland deserve public services which are publicly owned and publicly accountable: our railways, our buses, energy and Scottish Water need to be taken back and remain in public ownership.”

The SNP said Mr Leonard appeared not to know Scottish Water was already in public ownership, or that the Scottish Government was committed to making a public sector bid for the Scotrail franchise, or that it wanted councils to be able to run bus franchises.

In her speech to last month’s SNP conference, Nicola Sturgeon announced the creation of a publicly owned energy company.

Accusing Mr Leonard of launches his leadership with a list of borrowed SNP policies, Nationalist MSP Ivan McKee said: “Richard Leonard appears not to know that Scottish Water is already in public hands.

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“His promise to nationalise railways and energy are miles behind what the SNP are already doing in government – in fact, it was Labour who for years blocked us having the power to bring forward a public sector rail bid.

“Just like Jeremy Corbyn, Richard Leonard loves to rail against the SNP in one breath and then pinch our ideas in the next.”

Scottish Labour said Mr Leonard was aware of Scottish Water’s status as a public company.

A spokesman said he had been “listing utilities that he believes should either be in public ownership or remain in public ownership.”

Mr Leonard’s manifesto in the Labour leadership race said he would: “Legislate to introduce a law that that prohibits any future Scottish Government from privatising Scottish Water”.