SCOTTISH Labour leader Anas Sarwar has defended the party’s vetting process after it was forced to suspend a General Election candidate in a key target seat.

Wilma Brown was hopeful of becoming an MP in the Cowdenbeath and Kirkcaldy seat currently held by Alba’s Neale Hanvey but was suspended by Labour on Wednesday after it emerged she had liked and reposted a swathe of offensive tweets.

Some posts she appeared to endorse claimed that Scottish Government aid to Gaza was going to Hamas, while others featured the debunked viral claim that Humza Yousaf had said there are “too many white people in Scotland”.

Last month, Brown also liked a post telling an Indian man who was expressing his love for England and its flag “you will NEVER be an Englishman” and “it is not your flag”.

Elsewhere, she has shared posts calling for the abolition of the Scottish Parliament or for it to be placed "under special measures by the British Government".

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Shortly after The National exposed her behaviour on social media, Brown deleted both her personal Twitter account – which the likes and reposts were found on – and her private campaigning account.

Sarwar has since spoken to Times Radio about the incident which has thrown Labour’s selection process into question. 

Asked why Brown had not just been sacked immediately, he said: “These were posts that were liked after she became a candidate.

“She obviously went through a full due diligence process in the selection process. [She] was viewed as a phenomenal local candidate actually, people had a lot of like and respect for her, particularly in her role in the Covid response having been a local nurse in Fife.

“What’s happened over the last 24 to 48 hours has left a lot of people really upset, really disappointed. It came to our attention on Tuesday night, and the following morning she was suspended as a candidate and we are going through that process.

“Obviously if someone is suspended they can’t be a candidate but we will go through that process.

“We have taken very swift action, I expect the highest standard from all our candidates and from all our MPs and given what we’ve seen in our politics over the last decade, I think the public expect politicians of the highest standard as well.”

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Brown was pictured campaigning in Kirkcaldy with Labour leader Keir Starmer last year about a month after she was selected.

The tweets shared and liked by Brown were branded "deeply offensive" by the SNP's Keith Brown, who has called for Starmer to explain how she was allowed to become a candidate.

Green MSP Maggie Chapman added that while it is right Brown has been suspended, the revelations bring Labour's whole selection process into question.

Despite approaching Brown personally by email, The National is yet to receive any response from her.