Scottish Labour to develop new anti-discrimination policy

Scottish Labour is to develop a new anti-discrimination policy after two of its politicians were reported to have used racist language.

Richard Leonard has charged his party's Equalities and Diversity sub-committee to create comprehensive anti-discrimination and harassment guidelines.

It comes after Anas Sarwar MSP, who lost the leadership contest to the left-winger, claimed an elected councillor had told him he could not back him because he was a "brown, Muslim Paki".

Hugh Gaffney MP, who represents Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill, has also apologised for using a racist term for a Chinese meal while speaking at a Burns Supper.

Mr Leonard said: "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."

Mr Sarwar has drawn up an eight-point plan on how the party can tackle everyday racism and Islamophobia after speaking out on the abuse he allegedly received during the Scottish leadership campaign.

Davie McLachlan, who had been leader of the Labour group on South Lanarkshire Council, said he "categorically denied" making racist remarks to the former leadership candidate and said he would launch a robust defence.

The party's sub-committee will now consider Mr Sarwar's plan, recommendations agreed by the Scottish Executive Committee on tackling sexual harassment and a report on breaking down barriers in Scottish Labour for disabled people.

An interim report will then be developed and brought to Scottish Labour conference in March.

Mr 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."

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