ANAS Sarwar has launched a major attack on Labour's disciplinary process after the party dismissed a complaint he made against a councillor accused of making a racist comment to him.

The Glasgow MSP claimed in January last year his party colleague made the remark during his campaign to succeed Kezia Dugdale as Scottish Labour leader in 2017.

Davie McLachlan was subsequently named as the councillor alleged to have made the comment and was suspended from the party as it launched an investigation into the remark, which McLachlan categorically denied.

READ MORE: Anas Sarwar's complaint over ‘racial slur’ rejected by Labour

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

At the party's National Constitutional Committee (NCC) hearing yesterday in Glasgow, the case against McLachlan was dismissed.

Following the hearing, Sarwar said he was disappointed by the process and the outcome of the investigation.

In a detailed statement today, the party's former health spokesman said the party's disciplinary process was “deeply flawed and not fit for purpose" and left the impression "Islamophobia is one of the last acceptable forms of prejudice".

He called for the party's disciplinary process to be devolved and reformed, adding that "complaints made in Scotland should be dealt with in Scotland".

"Having dedicated the last 10 years of my life on the frontline for the Scottish Labour Party, I am left feeling deeply hurt and demoralised by the need to make this statement.

"Just five days ago I was expressing my delight that we had secured the support of political parties in Scotland for the adoption of the All-Party Parliamentary Group’s definition of Islamophobia. It was a landmark moment which demonstrated that Scotland was leading the way in the fight against Islamophobia.

"I am therefore devastated that it is my own party, the party of equality and with a proud anti-racist tradition, that has failed at the first test,” he said.

He explained the circumstances which prompted his complaint after launching a campaign against racism and Islamophobia and set up a Cross-Party Group on Tackling Islamophobia in Holyrood.

"I felt it was important to share my own experiences. As I said at the time, this was the most difficult decision that I had ever made in politics as it was the first time I was talking so openly about my own race and religion and highlighting my own difference. But I felt it was important to do that as it would hopefully encourage others to do the same, and through that open dialogue we could spark a national debate about everyday prejudice and how we could confront it," he said.

"One of the examples I gave was of a council group leader telling me that ‘Scotland wouldn’t vote for a brown, Muslim Paki’. I didn’t disclose the name of the councillor in my interview. The Labour Party insisted that I disclose the name of the individual so that it could take action. I received many calls and emails encouraging me to do this including from the shadow secretary of state for Scotland and deputy leader, Lesley Laird (pictured below), and from the Scottish general secretary, Brian Roy.

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"I disclosed the name to them and stressed at the time that this was not about any one individual or about one party, but about challenging a culture that was impacting people in playgrounds, college and university campuses and workplaces across the country."

READ MORE: Call for Scottish Labour to kick out racist councillor who told Anas Sarwar, 'Scotland's not ready for a brown, Muslim, Paki’ leader

He criticised the handling of the investigation, saying he was told of the meeting just four days beforehand – and was then told he could not give evidence as he had not given two weeks’ notice of his intention to appear as a witness.

"After 15 months of little or no communication or updates, I was notified by the Labour Party late in the afternoon last Thursday that the NCC hearing would be on Monday, April 29, at 11am – just four days later.

"I was asked if I could make myself available as a witness. I emailed back expressing my disappointment at the short notice and asking a number of questions about the process. I got a response back at 8.30am on Monday morning and all the relevant paperwork sent to me just before 9am for a hearing that was due to start at 11am.

"When I arrived at the hearing I was informed by an NCC representative that I could not give evidence as I had not given the committee two weeks’ notice of my intention to appear as a witness. I was asked to leave and was unable to provide any evidence.

"The UK Labour NCC panel subsequently ruled that there was no case to answer without any verbal evidence being taken. Given what I read in the paperwork that was produced for the NCC hearing and my experiences since raising this case and the circumstances of the NCC hearing day itself, I am left with the sad impression that Islamophobia is one of the last acceptable forms of prejudice …

"It’s now clear that the Labour Party’s disciplinary process is deeply flawed and not fit for purpose."

He urged the UK Labour Party to provide a full explanation on its handling of this case.

“It is ludicrous that complaints made in Scotland aren’t dealt with in Scotland. The Scottish Labour Party should be demanding that disciplinary matters are fully devolved to ensure that cases are dealt with efficiently, quickly and fairly here in Scotland,” he added.

In a statement, McLachlan said his reputation had been badly damaged by the allegation against him.

He said: "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.

"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."

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A spokesman for Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard (pictured above) 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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