HUMZA Yousaf has accused Richard Leonard of a “weak” response to racial slurs by a Scottish Labour MP, which he said was a “slap in the face” for ethnic minorities.

The SNP minister renewed a call for Hugh Gaffney to be suspended “at the very least” after he admitted using offensive language during a Burns Supper speech.

Gaffney is reported to have attempted to made a joke about the bard not being “bent”, and to have used a racist term when referring to a Chinese meal.

The MP for Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill apologised and has been instructed to go on “equality and diversity training” by the party.

The row continues to simmer as UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn arrives today in Scotland for a campaign tour as part of his commitment to ensure his party remains on an election footing.

Last month Labour MSP Anas Sarwar, who lost the party’s Scottish leadership contest to Leonard, claimed an elected councillor had told him he could not back him because he was a “brown, Muslim Paki”.

Yesterday Yousaf, who also spoke out last week about the matter, said Scottish Labour had shown itself to be “weak in the face of racial slurs”.

He said that although Leonard could not remove Gaffney as an MP he should take stronger action, pointing to the suspension of the councillor alleged to be responsible for the comments to Sarwar.

Yousaf told BBC Sunday Politics Scotland: “I think you’re the leader of your party or you’re not the leader of your party.

“You take a commanding role over your Scottish MPs, your Scottish MSPs, your councillors and, of course, this is the nub of the problem - the complete inconsistency in approach from Richard Leonard.

“The councillor who made the alleged remarks to Anas Sarwar, that is being investigated, he denies those remarks that councillor, but of course rightly he has been suspended.

“Hugh Gaffney admits making a racial slur absolutely comparable to the remark that was made to Anas Sarwar and yet all he gets is barely a tickle on the wrist.

“That kind of weak action from Richard Leonard actually is a slap in the face of every single ethnic minority in the country.”

Leonard has insisted he is taking action to develop a comprehensive anti-discrimination and harassment policy and has charged a sub-committee of his party’s Scottish Executive to develop one.

The plan will also take in Sarwar’s eight point plan to tackle everyday racism and Islamophobia which he drew up after speaking out on the abuse he received during the Scottish leadership campaign.

“The Labour Party is the party of equality. There is no place for racial, gender or other forms of discrimination or harassment in our party.

“Under my leadership, I will work to build a society free from all forms of sexism, homophobia, racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, discrimination against disabled people and bigotry and prejudice in all their manifestations,”he said.

He said the sub-committee will also consider recommendations agreed by the Scottish Executive Committee on tackling sexual harassment and that an interim report would be given to Scottish Labour’s conference next month.

Responding to the plans, Sarwar said: “This is an important first step forward for the Labour party in challenging everyday racism. The issue of racism and Islamophobia goes beyond any one single political party and sadly is too prevalent in our society.

“The Labour party must take the lead on these issues, and establish a precedent for other political parties and Scottish society. Ultimately we will be judged by our actions, not our words.”

A Labour Party spokesman said: “Hugh Gaffney MP has been reprimanded for using inappropriate and offensive language.

“He has apologised unreservedly and referred himself for equality and diversity training. The Labour Party is clear that this language is unacceptable.”

The row has re-ignited divisions between the left and centrists in the party with Corbyn and Leonard being accused of double standards in terms of taking disciplinary action.

Last week a Labour source told the National it seemed there was “one rule for Corbynistas” and another rule for others under the party’s current regime. The insider pointed out ex Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale was given a written warning after she took an unauthorised leave of absence to take part in the reality TV show ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’ while Gaffney ‘got off with a slap on the wrist’.

“There’s a lot of anger around the fact Hugh simply just got sent on diversity training. It seems what he did is being brushed under the carpet,” the National was told.

Meanwhile, it emerged Gaffney’s local Labour branch tried to pass a motion condemning Sarwar for what they claimed was an attempt to undermine Leonard by making his claims about racism public. Sources said MSP Mark Giffin “talked down” the motion at Thursday’s meeting of the Uddingston and Belshill Constituency Labour Party (CLP).