ON Monday, Glasgow Labour will announce its new leadership team, to take the Labour Party in Glasgow forward over the next period.

As my time to pass on the baton of leadership comes to an end, I have been reflecting on the past, my decades of public service and the challenges that this city, of which I am so incredibly proud, has faced.

Looking around, the city is barely recognisable from when I first set foot as a young Councillor in Glasgow District Council in 1988. A cursory glance across the city reveals the breadth and depth of change the city has experienced.

In 1988, Glasgow hosted the Garden Festival – the only one to take place in Scotland and the most successful.

In 2021, we will welcome the world to our city again, after the incredible success of our Commonwealth Games in 2014, as we play host to the world’s largest conference on climate change.

In that period, I had the opportunity to lead the Council twice. It is an immense privilege and honour to lead this city, and one that everyone who seeks the position should take seriously.

It was a journey that I was proud to experience with my friend and colleague, Archie Graham OBE, who has also stepped down from his role. And to him, and his own immense legacy, I pay tribute.

I saw first hand the power and influence that can be wielded for the benefit of every single Glaswegian.

First in my mind is the Housing Stock transfer, a difficult choice, but one that has had enormous benefit for the City and its people.

The introduction of a Glasgow Living Wage: a pay rise for tens of thousands of Glaswegians, and implemented at a time when the Scottish Government decided to sit on their hands.

The physical regeneration of our city has been spectacular. From the Royal Concert Hall way back in 1990, to the Riverside Museum or the Emirates arena, the international swimming centre at Tollcross, or the extraordinary boom in housing developments, that have provide modern, healthy homes for families across the city.

This physical regeneration spurred some exemplary economic growth in our city – bringing jobs, raising wages and improving the standard of living. However, that success comes with its own challenges.

Earlier this week, we read the news about Mercy Baguma, who was found dead next to her starving child. Heartbreaking events like that show how much more we still have to do.

No-one should ever, ever in our city go without food or necessities. We, as a society, let Mercy down. She depended on us, and we should have been able to do much more to protect her.

Mercy’s story, and the story of every single person who is held back in this city by poverty or inequality, are the stories that will always accompany whoever succeeds me.

Because that speaks to our purpose, as politicians. We are given power, we are entrusted with responsibility, and even from the vantage point of opposition, we must always use that power to further the cause of every single person in our communities.

In the months and years ahead, the Glasgow that we must build is a city of sanctuary; where everyone, regardless of their background, their place or circumstance of birth, is freed from the shackles of poverty and inequality.