Scottish Labour’s interim leader Alex Rowley has revealed that Kezia Dugdale only gave him a few minutes’ notice that she was quitting as party leader.
Ms Dugdale announced she was standing down last month and a contest is ongoing to elect her successor.
Mr Rowley was Ms Dugdale’s deputy at the time.
He told the BBC’s Sunday Politics Scotland: “I didn’t know that Kezia Dugdale was going to resign up until 10-15 minutes before she announced it.”
He added: I think very few people knew but that was Kezia’s decision, a decision that she wanted to make.
“We now need to move forward. We owe Kez a debt of gratitude for all the work that she’s done over these last two years.”
The leadership contest is between Anas Sarwar, Labour’s health spokesman at Holyrood, and left wing MSP Richard Leonard.
During the interview, Mr Rowley was also asked if he had set up Mr Sarwar during First Minister’s Questions last week.
In Holyrood on Thursday, while talking about poverty, Mr Rowley said the SNP stood for “the millionaires, not the millions”, which led to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon launching an attack on Mr Sarwar.
Mr Sarwar had previously denied being “one of the few” as he defended his family’s firm over its failure to pay the real living wage to all staff. He has since relinquished all his shares in his family’s wholesale business. The Glasgow MSP has also faced questions over his decision to send his children to a private school in the city.
In his response on Sunday Politics Scotland, Mr Rowley – who is attending the Labour Party Conference in Brighton – said: “I’m going to continue to make the case for the many, not the few. I’m going to continue to make the case that we need to address the unacceptable levels of poverty that exist in Scotland.
“I haven’t come out for any candidate. I’ve remained neutral. I have one vote the same as every other party member. The Labour party members will decide who they want to put in as our next leader.”
The result of the leadership contest will be announced in mid-November.