FORMER Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard has paid tribute to Keir Hardie with a new short film about the miner-turned-politician’s legacy.

The film, shot at Hardie’s home former home in East Ayrshire, explores the Labour Party founder’s roots in the trade union movement and his path into politics.

Its release is timed to coincide with the beginning of the Scottish Labour Party’s conference on Friday.

Leonard described Hardie as “neither a nationalist nor a unionist”, saying instead Labour’s first-ever MP was “a socialist, grounded by integrity, not by geography”.

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He added: “He was a fighter whose battlefield was not defined by borders between countries, but in the division between the rich and the poor, the powerful and the powerless.”

The five-minute film, entitled A Leader Called Keir, explains how Hardie’s experiences working in the coalfields of Lanarkshire and Ayrshire.

Leonard, who led Scottish Labour for around four years, added: “He understood why the working class, through their trade unions, needed a political party.

“We defend that link today, not to look wistfully backwards, but because it endures as an essential, a practical way to represent our class in the same way that the Tories represent theirs.

“With the Tories again attacking our trade unions, in the middle of this latest cost of living crisis, it is no good us supporting workers’ rights without also supporting workers when they exercise those rights.”

The Central Scotland MSP has become known in his post-leadership career for his Twitter videos, which feature clips of Leonard speaking put to music.