Paul O’Kane calls for change as he launches West Scotland bid

Deputy Leader of East Renfrewshire Council and Convener for Education and Equalities, Paul O’Kane has announced that he is running to be a regional MSP for West Scotland.

Scottish Labour opened the process to choose their regional list candidates on November 18.

The local Labour man was selected last year to contest the Renfrewshire South constituency for Labour and has served on East Renfrewshire Council since 2012.

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Paul announced his candidacy via a short film on Social Media and spoke about his values growing up locally which motivated him to get involved in politics. He said: “I was brought up with the idea that you’re as good as anyone but better than no one.

The values of standing up for what is right; of solidarity with others; and never passing by on the other side when someone needs help were instilled in me from an early age.

“At school I had great teachers who told me that change is always possible and to never just simply accept things the way they are. But today in our communities, too many young people are being left behind and too many people are just getting by, not getting on. That makes me angry. I am standing to be an MSP to serve hard working people across West Scotland and to help change our communities for the better.”

Speaking about his recent experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic Paul added: I have seen the best of people these past months – people going over and above to support others, no matter what. This has inspired me and it is clear we need to build back better. People are crying out for change and we need to make that happen as we recover from this unprecedented and difficult time.”

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Paul believes that Labour needs change in order to do this; that the Party must work hard to win back trust to help change communities across the region. Paul said: “We have failed to listen to what people have been telling us and because of this we have stagnated. We need to be better and we need to change. “I am committed to getting Scottish Labour back on track by challenging the SNP and the Tories on their record whilst offering an alternative Labour vision.

“But I also want to transform our Party and help us to win again - ensuring that people see Scottish Labour active in their towns and villages; not just in the Holyrood Chamber.

“This election will be the fight of our lives; the fight for our future.

“I will be the change West Scotland needs - a new voice for a new decade. Changing our Party to change our communities.”

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The Scottish Labour Party process will conclude in the new year with Party members across West Scotland voting to choose the candidates by an electronic and postal ballot.

The Regional List vote is one of the two votes people have in the Scottish Parliament election scheduled for 6th May 2021. Seven MSPs are elected via the Regional List on a proportional basis.

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