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Councillor denies making racist remark to Labour MSP

Davie McLachlan says he is 'stunned and dismayed' over the allegations.

Allegations: Anas Sarwar says the comments were made during his leadership bid last year.
Allegations: Anas Sarwar says the comments were made during his leadership bid last year. Scottish Parliament

A councillor suspended after a senior Labour MSP accused him of making a racist remark says he is "stunned" by the allegations.

Davie McLachlan, who led the party's group on South Lanarkshire, said he "categorically denied" ever saying such a phrase in a statement released on Wednesday.

It is alleged McLachlan told Anas Sarwar he could not support his bid for the party's leadership as his constituents would not elect a "brown, Muslim P***".

Sarwar did not initially name McLachlan but Labour suspended the councillor following talks between the MSP and the party.

A second Labour member, who has not been named or suspended from the party, told Sarwar she could not vote for him after seeing a picture of his wife Furheen wearing a hijab.

In a statement, McLachlan said: "I categorically deny these deeply hurtful allegations.

"I'm stunned and dismayed at the claims that I would say such things, and I will defend myself robustly in the party's investigation and in any actions that follow.

"Early in the campaign, I pledged my support to Anas but later decided to support Mr Leonard.

"Anas will know this and would understandably be disappointed."

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1407160-scottish-labour-to-probe-racist-comments-made-to-msp/ | default

The alleged remark was revealed in an interview between the MSP and the Daily Record on Monday.

The 34-year old said he was speaking out to raise awareness of racism and Islamophobia in Scottish society.

He told the newspaper: "I think we should hold ourselves to a higher standard in the Labour Party, as the party of equality, and call out any acts of prejudice or hate speak in any form.

"This isn't just about me, it is about people of all backgrounds and faiths being able to find a voice to talk about this."

Sarwar will launch a new cross-party group to tackle Islamophobia at Holyrood on Thursday.

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