Labour councillor suspended after MSP’s race allegations

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Labour has suspended a senior councillor after Scottish party leadership candidate Anas Sarwar alleged he had been the victim of racist comments.

A Scottish Labour Party spokesman confirmed it has suspended Davie McLachlan, the leader of the party’s group on South Lanarkshire Council.

It comes after Anas Sarwar claimed that during the Scottish Labour leadership campaign a councillor told him he could not back him because he was a “brown, Muslim Paki”.

The Labour spokesman said: “Davie McLachlan has been suspended by the Labour Party, pending an investigation.”

Mr Sarwar, who is Labour’s health spokesman at Holyrood, confirmed: “I met with the party and disclosed the identity of the councillor involved. I have also provided in writing the full details of what was said to me.”

He added: “It is now for the Scottish Labour Party to take the next step as regards to an investigation.

“My focus will remain on tackling the wider issues of everyday racism and everyday Islamophobia. I stress that this is bigger than any one individual or one organisation. This is about challenging the institutional prejudices that impact on workplaces, campuses and classrooms across the county.”

On Monday he told the Daily Record newspaper: “A leader of a Labour council group told me very clearly the reason that he couldn’t support me in the leadership election was that, in his words, Scotland wasn’t ready for a ‘brown, Muslim Paki’.

“When I challenged him on that, saying it was a racist, Islamophobic comment, he said that wasn’t his opinion, it was his fear about what his constituents believe.”

Mr Sarwar lost out to Richard Leonard in last autumn’s leadership contest, which was sparked by the resignation of Kezia Dugdale.

He said he did not he lost due to his ethnic background, but added that he had spoken out to raise awareness about racism and Islamophobia.

He also claimed another Labour member told him she could not support his bid after seeing a picture of his wife Furheen wearing a hijab.

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