I WAS surprised to read your article in relation to Richard Leonard’s refusal to back Ian Murray in his quest for the for the Labour deputy leadership (“Leonard refuses to back only Scottish Labour MP for UK deputy”. In my opinion, and I am not a Labour supporter, I think Mr Murray would be an excellent candidate for the role, in fact I would go further and say he would be more suited to the leadership itself.

He is a winner in a wilderness of failure who in spite of the threat of deselection by the Unite union was the only Scottish Labour MP to hold on to their seat in the last General Election – a clear demonstration of his record in politics, popularity and fortitude. Meanwhile he has to work with a Scottish leader who led his party to lose six of the seven Scottish Labour seats in the same election and a national party leader who presided over the worst election defeat since 1935.

In any other walk of life both Richard Leonard and Jeremy Corbyn would have resigned immediately following these devastating results. Instead they are hanging around regardless, much in my opinion, to the detriment of the party. Until Mr Corbyn finally leaves office in April and both he and Mr Leonard are consigned to the litany of former leaders, then the Labour Party will never find a route back to power.

Christopher H Jones, Giffnock.

ONCE again our SNP Government has apparently managed to hide bad financial performance (“Ministers accused of secrecy as Scots economy shrinks”, The Herald, February 3). The time has surely come for the SNP’s shortcomings to be exposed by a concerted “Remain” campaign (for that’s what it should be called – “No” is too negative).

Ruth Davidson, Jackson Carlaw, Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling, Willie Rennie, et al, should act together for the common good and set up a cross-party organisation to protect the Union.

Scott Macintosh, Killearn.

WILLIE Maclean (Letters, Febuary 3) kindly asks me what adjectives I would apply to Boris Johnson and I am pleased to oblige: from my observations, he is vain, entitled, mendacious and opportunistic. (Incidentally, other politicians with these qualities are also available at all levels and in all parties.) In addition, however, Mr Johnson has become Prime Minster with a large majority, and was successful in getting elected and re-elected as Mayor of London. So he is also obviously not to be under-estimated.

Mr Maclean also refers to Boris Johnson as “[my] leader”. I did not vote for him to be PM, and nor would I, but of course Mr Maclean is correct. Mr Johnson is the Prime Minster of the United Kingdom, so he is my PM just as he is Mr MacLean’s PM and indeed Nicola Sturgeon’s PM and every other member of the SNP’s PM.

I also make no apology for pointing out the divisive and bitter nature of the Scottish Nationalists’ politics. The Brexit referendum has caused deep divisions between Leavers and Remainers: surely we do not need on top of it a big helping of Holyrood vs Westminster, Nats vs Unionists, Yessers vs Yoons, Bravehearts vs Quislings? It would be far better to accept the outcomes of two free and fair democratic referendums. Then we could devote our energies to co-operation and co-existence within the bounds of devolution, rather than wasting them on a perpetual (and pointless) culture war.

Peter A Russell, Glasgow G13.

WILLIE McLean, in adopting a protectionist approach to the SNP in Scotland, appears to ignore one common viewpoint. We elect our political leaders based on the assumption that they are capable of displaying true statesmanship during their term in office. They are not expected to be political agitators. On the other hand, all we hear from Nicola Sturgeon is the ceaseless party political slogan suggesting that independence would be so much better, in all ways, for people with a Scottish postcode.

What would Mr McLean and his ilk be saying at this moment if Boris Johnson, having been elected as our PM started a constant and unrelenting call for independence for England, Wales and also for Northern Ireland every time we heard him?

Would they not be saying he should be showing statesmanship and concentrate on the day job of running the country? Not everyone who votes for the SNP wants independence at any cost and the party therefore has no mandate to suggest it is wanted more now than in 2014. Many SNP voters are simply waiting to find an alternative to the two-party system which, for the moment, seems somewhat dysfunctional in Scotland.

Bill Brown, Milngavie.

Read more: SNP’s failed projections show it is not to be trusted