RICHARD Leonard has insisted that Labour can only win the forthcoming General Election if it gets “100 per cent” behind the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.

The Scottish Labour leader - who is at odds with the UK party leader on Brexit, wanting the party to “campaign unambiguously for Remain” - made his plea at the party conference in Brighton as he announced:

*Scottish Labour, if elected to power, would introduce a new law giving councils and housing co-operatives the right buy land from developers at the existing use-price and

*next week at Holyrood it would use its debating time to propose a motion demanding the Scottish Government end the failing Abellio franchise for ScotRail.

In an impassioned keynote address, Mr Leonard said this conference was one of the most important in the party’s history.

“With a General Election imminent, we know that his conference could be a turning point. And it is up to us because we will only win the forthcoming General Election if we stay rooted in our enduring values of democracy and socialism, if we articulate a positive vision of change for the future and if we all get 100 per cent behind Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership,” declared the Central Scotland MSP to cheers and applause.

He made clear that his mission was not just to lead a better management team than the SNP but to lead a Scottish Labour Government worthy of the name.

“It is to go forward winning Scotland back to Labour,” he told delegates, ruling out any pact with the Nationalists, insisting: “For the avoidance of doubt: there is no shortcut to a Jeremy Corbyn Government through the SNP.”

Mr Leonard said Labour was offering people a “vision of hope and real change,” saying it was a message of investment over cuts, a green industrial revolution to transform the economy, that only Labour could stop a no-deal Brexit through a public vote and of “public ownership of public services”.

Stressing that the shareholder dividend and the profit motive should have no place in Britain’s public services, the party leader told conference that for this reason he was announcing that Scottish Labour would next week in the Scottish Parliament force a vote to end the Abellio franchise of ScotRail, “so that once again we can put passengers before profits”.

Mr Leonard called for “fundamental change” not just in transport but in housing and land ownership, announcing that in a few weeks’ time when the party’s Housing Commission reported, it would propose radical changes to tackle the “excess profits of property developers”.

To this end, Scottish Labour would, in power, introduce a new law giving local councils, housing associations and housing co-operatives the right to acquire land at an existing use-value.

“Good housing policy has always been at the core of Labour Party values. It is where we came from. And under the Scottish Labour Government that I lead housing will become a national priority again,” he declared.

The party leader claimed Brexit had underscored how the British constitution was “creaking and out-of-date”.

Saying it was time for a democratic renewal, he explained: “We will extend democracy not just at the ballot box but in every workplace and in every community.

“And so let me be crystal clear, this democratic renewal, his redistribution of power we seek, this is not simply about parliaments and the members elected to them, it is about strong local government, It is about redressing the imbalance of power between tenant and landlord, between worker and owner, between citizen and state, between women and men.”

To this end, Mr Leonard said the next Labour Government would deliver a new Scotland Act to devolve employment law “with a UK-wide floor”.

And, insisting that a fundamental rebuilding of the “broken British state” was needed, he told conference that, once in power, Prime Minister Corbyn would set in motion the abolition of the House of Lords, replacing it with an elected senate, representing the nations and regions of the UK.

“These changes will have to be worked for and people won over,” admitted the Scottish Labour leader. “But we must be confident in the democratic tradition, which we inherit, confident in the socialist ideal that drives us, confident in these practical ideas for radical reform.”

Mr Leonard added: “We are on the brink of something extraordinary, the greatest opportunity for more than a generation to elect a truly radical transformative Labour Government and with that opportunity we send out the clear and simple message from this conference today that a socialist Britain will do far more to improve the lives of the people than a separate Scotland ever could.

“So, let’s hold our nerve. Let’s keep our faith. Let’s put in the hard work. A Labour Government is within our grasp. Let us go out and win it.”

After his speech, Mr Corbyn applauded and hugged the Scottish Labour leader.