Labour suspends councillor after Anas Sarwar racism claims

Labour councillor Davie McLachlan has been suspended following cliams he made racist remarks towards Anas Sarwar. Picture: Twitter/PA
Labour councillor Davie McLachlan has been suspended following cliams he made racist remarks towards Anas Sarwar. Picture: Twitter/PA
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Labour councillor Davie McLachlan has been suspended by the party following claims racist remarks were made during last year’s Scottish leadership contest.

Cllr McLachlan represents the Hamilton North and East ward on South Lanarkshire council.

His suspension comes after former leadership contender and Labour front bencher Anas Sarwar claimed an elected member told him “Scotland wouldn’t vote for a brown Muslim Paki”.

The Glasgow MSP claimed racially-charged comments occurred on several occasions during his ultimately unsuccessful bid to become Scottish Labour leader. He also claimed the leader of a Labour group on a Scottish council had used his race as a reason why he couldn’t vote for him in the contest.

READ MORE: Anas Sarwar ‘was subjected to Islamophobia’ during leadership bid

Last night a Scottish Labour spokesperson said: “Davie McLachlan has been suspended by the Labour Party, pending an investigation.”

Mr Sarwar said: “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.

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

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“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.”

In a recent interview, Mr Sarwar said it was “extremely hurtful” to hear the remarks.

He said: “When I challenged him he said he was engaging in ‘pub banter’.

“I’m not sure which pubs he occupies or who his circle of friends are, but I think he has to reflect on that going forward.”

Mr Sarwar also revealed a senior Labour member told him she had been planning to vote for him until she saw a picture of his wife Furheen wearing a hijab – the traditional Islamic headscarf.

He is launching a cross-party group on Islamophobia at Holyrood, with the aim of “rooting out” institutionalised racism in Scotland.