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Good morning. I’m sorry I’m late launching the blog. I was held up at home for various reasons.

This morning Anas Sarwar announced he is runnning for the Scottish Labour leadership. The Press Association has just filed this.

Labour’s Anas Sarwar has pledged to “reunite” his party as he announced his bid to become the next Scottish leader.

Sarwar, a former MP who lost his seat in 2015 when Scottish Labour was virtually wiped out at Westminster, is the second candidate to declare in the contest to succeed Kezia Dugdale.

She stood down suddenly last week, leaving the party in Scotland looking for its fourth leader since the independence referendum in 2014.

Richard Leonard, a former trade-union organiser who was elected to Holyrood in 2016, has already confirmed he is running for the job.

Earlier Sarwar’s rival, Richard Leonard, told BBC Radio Scotland that Scottish Labour failed to capitalise on a so-called “Corbyn bounce” during the general election. Leonard said:

There was an opportunity, I think in all honesty, the Scottish Labour Party missed. I think there was a Corbyn bounce, I don’t think it was picked up soon enough and acted on quickly enough in Scotland.

I think if the Labour Party in Scotland had properly understood what was going on and reacted to it I think that there would have been the opportunity for even greater success.

I think we should have used the opportunity of Jeremy Corbyn’s growing popularity in that election to knock on more doors to get across the Labour message and I think to get away a bit from the entrenchment in constitutional politics which we found ourselves in.

Here is the agenda for the day.

11am: Downing Street lobby briefing.

James Brokenshire, the Northern Ireland secretary, has a round of meetings today with the main Northern Ireland parties about the prospect of resuming talks on the resumption of powersharing. Philip Hammond, the chancellor, is in Manchester and Leeds, where is he meeting the Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham, the Liverpool metro mayor Steve Rotheram and the Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen. And Damian Green, the first secretary of state, is in Cardiff for talks with the Welsh first minister, Carwyn Jones.

I’m just off to the lobby briefing.

As usual, I will be covering breaking political news as it happens, as well as bringing you the best reaction, comment and analysis from the web. I plan to post a summary at lunchtime and another in the afternoon.

You can read all today’s Guardian politics stories here.

If you want to follow me or contact me on Twitter, I’m on @AndrewSparrow.

I try to monitor the comments BTL but normally I find it impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, do include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I do try to answer direct questions, although sometimes I miss them or don’t have time.

If you want to attract my attention quickly, it is probably better to use Twitter.

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