Scotland politics

Anas Sarwar racism complaint dismissed by Labour

Anas Sarwar and Davie McLachlan
Image caption Mr Sarwar (left) complained about comments said to have been made by Labour councillor Davie McLachlan

A Labour Party investigation has found "no case to answer" after a councillor was accused of using racist language about Anas Sarwar.

Mr Sarwar complained about comments said to have been made by Labour councillor Davie McLachlan.

He was alleged to have told Mr Sarwar he could not support him as Scottish Labour leader because "Scotland wouldn't vote for a brown Muslim Paki".

Mr McLachlan said he was delighted the "false allegations" were dismissed.

Mr Sarwar, a Labour MSP, said he was disappointed by the outcome of the investigation.

He had reported that the remarks were made during the contest to succeed Kezia Dugdale as Scottish Labour leader in 2017.

'Difficult process'

Mr McLachlan, who categorically denied the accusation, was suspended by the party.

He had been leader of the Labour group on South Lanarkshire Council.

But Labour's National Constitutional Committee (NCC), meeting in Glasgow, has dismissed the case against Mr McLachlan.

Reacting to the NCC's decision, Mr McLachlan said in a statement: "This has been a tremendously difficult time for my family and me and I'm delighted the NCC hearing panel has come to this conclusion.

"However, it has been a long and difficult process and I don't think my family and I will ever get over the stress this has brought to all of us.

"My reputation and character have been badly maligned by the false accusations that were made against me but there is some consolation for me in the fact that there are many, many people who know for sure that I never have, and never would, harbour racist views."

He added: "I have been a Labour Party member for 35 years and a councillor for 24 years and I now look forward to representing my constituents again as their Labour councillor."

'Wider culture'

But Mr Sarwar said he would wait to make a "considered" response to the outcome.

"I have consistently said that this isn't about one individual," he said.

"This is about challenging a wider culture and we have made great strides in the campaign against Islamophobia.

"Just this week we had Scotland's political parties adopt a working definition of Islamophobia."

Mr Sarwar said he would give the matter more thought and added: "I'm disappointed with the process and outcome and will have more to say about it but I want to give a considered response rather than one made in haste today."

A spokesman for Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said: "Richard has said for some time now that he has concerns about the disciplinary process, how properly resourced it is, and whether it delivers fairness to both sides."

A Labour Party spokesman said: "The Labour Party takes all complaints extremely seriously, which are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures and any appropriate disciplinary action is taken."

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