Labour leader in Scotland joins calls for party to ditch Corbyn

August 22, 2016 3:25 AM EDT

Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn cycles away from his home in London, Britain August 21, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

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LONDON (Reuters) - The head of Britain's opposition Labour Party in Scotland has joined calls to replace the organization's national leader, saying left-wing veteran lawmaker Jeremy Corbyn cannot heal deep divisions and win the next election.

Scottish Labour Party leader Kezia Dugdale's appeal to party members to back challenger Owen Smith over Corbyn follows a similar call from London Mayor Sadiq Khan over the weekend.

"We can't pin our hopes on a leadership who speak only to the converted, rather than speaking to the country as a whole," Dugdale said in an article published in Scotland's Daily Record newspaper on Monday.

While Corbyn is favorite to win the leadership contest because of strong support from thousands of members who voted for him last year, most Labour lawmakers say his left-wing views leave the party with little chance of winning power.

Corbyn was also criticized by fellow lawmakers for failing to persuade enough Labour supporters to vote to stay in the European Union in the June 23 referendum.

"I don't think Jeremy can unite our party and lead us into government. He cannot appeal to a broad enough section of voters to win an election," Dugdale said in her article in the Daily Record.

Labour was due to start sending ballot papers for the leadership election to members on Monday. The outcome of the vote is expected on Sept. 24.

(Reporting by William Schomberg; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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