GOOD evening, my name is James and welcome to this week's newsletter focusing on the highest Branch Office in the land.

The fifth free newsletter is below for you to have a read of as I bring you the week's latest news and gaffes from Scottish Labour, as they attempt to challenge the SNP/Green Government and avoid being disciplined by head honcho Keir Starmer.

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Will Labour repeal anything?

It has been a week of Labour refusing to commit to repealing Tory legislation that has been widely condemned by both rival parties and human rights campaigners.

On Sunday, senior Labour MP David Lammy said that the party would not repeal the Tories' anti-protest legislation if they form a government after the next General Election.

The shadow foreign secretary was speaking after the arrest of dozens of anti-monarchy activists at King Charles’s coronation.

The National: Labour's David Lammy twinned with republican protesters

He said: “We can't come into office, picking through all the conservative legislation and repealing it.”

Well, you could. 

Green MP Caroline Lucas tweeted: “WTF? Why not? Fundamental rights now under attack from both parties.”

Meanwhile Paul McLennan, the SNP MSP for East Lothian said: “This is incredible – Labour will keep Tory anti-protest legislation – let that sink in.”

Ex-Labour MSP Neil Findlay said David Lammy is “living in cloud cuckoo land” if he thinks not repealing anti-protest legislation rushed through by the Tories will win Labour an election.

Then, it emerged that Keir Starmer is reportedly not planning to repeal the UK Government’s “morally unacceptable” migration bill.

The Government’s bill would effectively criminalise most asylum seekers who reach Britain – something human rights groups and the UN say puts the country at odds with its obligations under international refugee law.

The Labour leader’s spokesperson told the Byline Times it may not be “necessary” for the bill to be repealed to bring in his own reforms.

He said: “We have set our own comprehensive plan for how we would deal with the Channel crossings and we’ll be looking forward to bringing our own legislation through when we’re in government.”

An end to "old, divisive politics"?

Labour branch office leader Anas Sarwar previously pledged to bring an end to Scotland's "old, divisive politics".

You wouldn’t have thought so at today’s First Minister’s Questions.

The Scottish Labour leader told the Chamber that the SNP and Tories are “two sides of the same coin” over jeers from the SNP benches.

Sarwar claimed that the First Minister was content for there to be a Tory government in Westminster as a “cover for his own incompetence”.

The National: Anas Sarwar vs Humza Yousaf and his front bench

Yousaf replied: “We’re not interested in just getting rid of the Tories for a little while, we want rid of the Tories forever. The way we do that is of course by voting for independence.”

Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone repeatedly had to intervene during the exchange between the FM and Sarwar due to shouting and jeering from MSPs.

It’s not just Sarwar. 

Scottish Labour’s communications boss Oliver Milne has also found himself at the centre of controversy after tweeting that his party would “cremate” the SNP.

The comment drew anger on social media, with commentator Gerry Hassan writing: “Some things never change in Scottish politics including senior Labour figures using offensive, inappropriate language about the SNP.”

Do Labour take sexual assault seriously?

Yesterday, it was reported the aide to a Labour frontbencher was allowed to keep his job after groping a woman.

Starmer’s party took three years to probe the complaint, before concluding that it had to be upheld.

The National: Keir Starmer's Labour Party has refused to issue more than a written warning to the guilty party

Parliamentary investigators, in a separate probe, also upheld the complaint against the senior Labour staffer, made by a woman 20 years younger than him.

According to Politico, the woman said she had been “let down” by the process after Labour said they would only issue the man with a written warning.

Then today, Tortoise told of how a female Labour MP has reported a frontbench colleague to the Metropolitan Police over an alleged sexual assault.

The news website reported that two sources corroborated the female MP’s claim, saying she had alerted them to the assault shortly afterwards.  She was encouraged to make a formal complaint but told the outlet she felt his popularity within the party would stand against her. No action was taken as a result and he has remained in his post.

The MP has also spoken to Labour whips over safeguarding issues and concerns about a “wider pattern of behaviour”.

“This is the modern Labour Party,” journalist Owen Jones tweeted.

A Labour Party spokesperson said: “We take any allegations of this sort very seriously and would always encourage individuals to go to the parliamentary process, the Labour Party process or the police.  “In terms of the Labour Party process, it is a thorough, robust and independent process that individuals can have confidence in.”

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