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Scottish Labour racism probes 'take too long'

PICTURED: Scottish Labour Party leader Richard Leonard

THE LEADER of the Scottish Labour says the party needs to move forward with its investigations into cases of alleged racism.

According to the BBC, the party has been at the centre of a string of racism allegations since the beginning of the year.

Richard Leonard admitted that some cases "have gone on much longer than I think is right", and told BBC Scotland that he was unable to discuss individual cases but in future he wanted to see complaints resolved more quickly.

"I am keen to ensure that there is always a fair process but I'm keen to look at ways in which we can accelerate the process so that we get to the bottom of these complaints and take appropriate action in a much more timely manner," he added.

The issue emerged in January when MSP Anas Sarwar revealed that he had been the victim of racism during the Scottish Labour leadership campaign.

Mr Sarwar, who lost to Mr Leonard in the race, said the party's council group leader in South Lanarkshire had told him "Scotland wouldn't vote for a brown, Muslim, Paki".

The councillor - Davie McLachlan - denied making the remarks but was suspended by the party.

In February, the MP Hugh Gaffney apologised for making what he said were "deeply offensive and unacceptable" remarks about Chinese and LGBT people and was reprimanded by the party and sent for diversity training.

Additionally in March, an investigation was launched after a Dumfries and Galloway councillor admitted making a Islamophobic remark against Humza Yousaf during his tenure as Scotland's transport minister.

Jim Dempster told transport officials at a meeting that "no-one would have seen [Mr Yousaf] under his burka".

He was suspended by the party and has apologised to Mr Yousaf, saying he was ashamed and embarrassed and could offer no defence or explanation.

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