DUMBARTON MSP Jackie Baillie has launched her bid to take a top role on Labour's ruling body.

Ms Baillie is challenging Mary Fee, who sits on Labour’s Scottish Executive Committee as chair of its group of MSPs, for her role at a the annual meeting of Scottish Labour .

Seen as a key figure on the party’s moderate wing, Ms Baillie was sacked as Scottish Labour’s economy spokeswoman last year as part of a chaotic reshuffle by Mr Leonard.

Now she is being backed as a challenger to Ms Fee, with supporters expected to make a move at today’s annual general meeting of the Scottish Parliamentary Labour Group.

A party source told the Herald the vote was expected to be “very tight”.

It comes amid an ongoing power struggle in Labour between its moderate and left-wing factions, with Ms Fee seen as a political ally of left-wing leader Mr Leonard.

Ms Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton, declined to comment. She was removed from Labour’s front bench in October, amid reports she had been told of the move over the phone just five minutes before it was announced in a statement.

Anas Sarwar, who was also sacked in the reshuffle, claimed he learned he was to be replaced as health spokesman on Twitter while leading for the party in a Holyrood debate.

At the time, a supporter of the pair accused Mr Leonard of putting “factionalism ahead of competence”.

They added: “When you’re in trouble you don’t take your two best players off the pitch.”

Ms Baillie supported Mr Sarwar during the 2017 leadership election, and is close to former leader Kezia Dugdale.

The party came fifth in Scotland, slumping from 26 to 9 per cent of the vote and losing both its MEPs, including the UK’s longest serving MEP, David Martin.

It was Labour’s worst result north of the border since 1910, and immediately led to calls for Mr Leonard to consider his position.

He has since committed Scottish Labour to backing a second EU referendum in all circumstances, and regardless of the party’s position down south. Critics have branded the move “too little, too late”.