Scotland’s most senior Labour MP has refused to answer questions on the issue of a colleague who admitted making racist and homophobic remarks at a Burns Supper.
Lesley Laird, who is the Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, told Radio Scotland presenter Gary Robertson that “the matter is now closed”.
Laird was being interviewed on the BBC Radio Scotland programme Good Morning Scotland when she was asked what punishment the party had imposed on fellow Scottish Labour MP Hugh Gaffney who has admitted making racist and homophobic remarks at a Burns Supper.
Responding, Laird said: “The facts of the case are known, the matter has been dealt with and the matter is now closed and I won’t be adding anything to what I’ve already said.”
Pressed by the radio presenter to clarify what form Mr Gaffney’s reprimand took, a defiant Laird again refused to give an answer: “I’m not going to get into discussing individual situations […] these matters should be considered confidential.”
Asked if party leader Jeremy Corbyn had consulted her on the issue, the Scottish Labour MP sternly replied: “Gary, I’m not going to discuss this any further beyind three points I’ve made to you already.”
Pressed if Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard had been consulted, a clearly agitated Laird complained about the questioning, before adding, “from my perspective the facts are known, the matter has been dealt with and the matter is closed.”
The interview came on the same day another Labour politician, the third in recent weeks, hit the headlines over homophobic comments. Former Scottish Labour councillor Tom McAughtrie described an LGBT campaigner as a “deviant”. McAughtrie, a former Dumfries and Galloway councillor was censured by the Standards Commission for Scotland.
Last month Scottish Labour councillor Davie McLachlan was suspended from the party after MSP Anas Sarwar claimed racist comments were directed at him by the councillor. Mr McLachlan has denied making the remarks.
Speaking tonight at Shottstown Miners Welfare Halls in Penicuik where he gave a speech, UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also refused to expand on what punishment MP Hugh Gaffney had been given and why he hadn’t been suspended.
Mr Corbyn said: “He has apologised for what he has said and has been reprimanded for that.
“He is undertaking the appropriate equality and diversity training and indeed he has met and talked to people in the Chinese community and is meeting other communities as well.
“What he said is completely wrong, of course, but he has recognised and understood that and apologised and that’s what we’ve done.”
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