Trade unions want to stop Jim Murphy MP from becoming Scottish Labour leader because he's a career politician, a Unison leader told BuzzFeed News.
Gordon McKay, the Labour link chair of Unison, said his union chose to back Neil Findlay MSP's bid rather than Murphy's because Findlay "doesn't come from a political elite", and "didn't start off with his career in politics".
"Neil Findlay is capable of getting our message out," said McKay. "He's been a brick layer, a teacher, a local councillor before he got into Holyrood. He knows exactly what issues affect working people and their families."
Murphy, meanwhile, went straight from president of the National Union of Students to an official role with the Scottish Labour Party in 1996.
Union members have a third of the vote to decide who becomes the new leader, and proved to be decisive in the last Labour leadership election when they backed Ed Miliband. McKay hopes their influence will be enough to lift their man into leadership this time too.
"We'll be writing to our members to let them know our recommendation, we will be reminding people what Neil has done for our members, how he continually speaks up to defend our members," said McKay. "We'll be reminding people what the individual candidates are saying, and I would hope, after that, people will vote for Neil Findlay."
McKay added that although Murphy's "core values" are roughly the same as those of Unison members, "the main thing is winning the election," and he has more faith that ex-brickie Findlay would connect with voters and bring victory over the SNP and the Conservatives.
"People seem to believe the opposition to Labour in Scotland is the Tories, but it isn't, it's the SNP," said McKay. "We need to defeat them to make sure we don't get a Tory government in Westminster. Neil ticks all the boxes that we're looking for as a candidate to be leader of Scottish Labour."
"As far as I'm concerned, this election is absolutely up for grabs."
Jamie Ross is a Scotland reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Edinburgh.
Contact Jamie Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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