A LABOUR MSP has issued a warning to fellow party members over a "wheesht for Labour government culture" emerging.

Monica Lennon made the statement as she joined collegues in speaking out against Labour's recent controversial attack ads, calling for the party to be big enough to "apologise".

The attack ads, posted on Labour's Twitter account, have drawn critisism from across the political spectrum. The party posted the first one on Thursday claiming that Rishi Sunak does not think child sex abusers should go to prison, followed by a second on Friday afternoon featuring the same picture of the Prime Minister and claiming he is soft on gun laws.

Responding to the content of the first attack ad, Lennon said "survivors of childhood sexual abuse deserve better" than the campaign being doubled down on by her party.

The ad featured an image of Sunak smiling alongside the words: “Do you think adults convicted of sexually assaulting children should go to prison? Rishi Sunak doesn’t.”

Lennon said: "Survivors of childhood sexual abuse deserve better than this. Scottish Labour should take nothing to do with the attack ads. Our members donate their hard earned cash to help build a more decent, safer and fairer society. They deserve better too."

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The MSP for Central Scotland told The National: "There’s a bit of a ‘wheesht for a Labour government’ culture emerging but silence won’t do when we are being dragged into the gutter."

"All parties make misjudgments and mistakes, and should be big enough to apologise and move on."

In her initial repsonse, Lennon tweeted that Labour activists deserve campaign materials they can be "proud to take into our communities".

The MSP's collegues in Holyrood also called for action to be taken following the first ad. 

The former Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard called for the first graphic to be deleted, and Carol Mochan MSP called the campaign "ill-judged".

In Westminster, former shadow chancellor John McDonnell urged his party to climb down, saying: “This is not the sort of politics a Labour Party, confident of its own values and preparing to govern, should be engaged in.

“I say to the people who have taken the decision to publish this ad, please withdraw it. We, the Labour Party, are better than this.”

The National:

On BBC Breakfast, a current shadow cabinet minister refused to endorse the ad.

Shadow culture secretary Lucy Powell declined to say she stood by the social media message, and suggested it was a “skit” based on Sunak’s own promotional material as she declined to say she stood by the tweet.

Powell insisted it was part of the “cut and thrust” of political debate which sought to highlight the Tories’ record on law and order.

Meanwhile, campaign group Compassion in Politics condemned Labour’s tactics.

Jennifer Nadel, the organisation’s co-director, said: “This kind of political discourse poisons the water that we all must drink from. It drives up hate and drags down standards.

“Sir Keir Starmer has rightly identified that the public want to see politicians act with respect, dignity, and decency. He can start by pulling this ad from circulation and issuing an immediate apology.”