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Labour MSPs call for suspended Aberdeen councillors’ bans to end – Evening Express

A group of MSPs have called for the nine suspended Labour councillors in Aberdeen to be readmitted to the party.

The entire Labour group on Aberdeen City Council was suspended following the 2017 local elections after entering a coalition with the Conservatives.

They have been banned ever since, and party top brass previously said their suspensions would continue until 2022.

However, the group were handed a boost by new Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar who praised their efforts in the Town House and said he views them as “Labour colleagues”.

Now the Scottish Parliamentary Labour Group (SPLP) has written to the party’s executive committee calling for the suspensions to be lifted.

Group chairman Mark Griffin wrote: “The continuing administrative suspension of the nine Labour councillors on Aberdeen City Council means they are unable to stand as Labour candidates at the next local elections in May 2022.

“This deprives local Labour Party members of the right to choose who their candidates should be, and specifically of the right to choose candidates with recent city council experience.

“It will further weaken the solidarity of local Labour Party members, undermine the position of Labour candidates at the Scottish Parliament elections in 2021, and benefit only our political opponents at Labour’s expense, in the city and beyond.”

Mr Griffin, an MSP for the Central Scotland region, added: “While we acknowledge that the group broke party rules, the evidence of the past three-and-a-half years is that the Labour group has succeeded in taking forward Labour policies and retaining the political initiative within Aberdeen City Council.”

He asked the two parties to enter discussions “with a view to enabling the Labour Party to end their administrative suspensions and reinstate them to their full membership rights at the earliest possible date”.

Jenny Laing, co-leader of Aberdeen City Council and leader of the Labour group, said she hoped the councillors’ suspensions would be lifted “in the very near future”.

© Chris Sumner/DCT Media
The nine councillors have been suspended since 2017.

“It is clear that the Scottish Parliamentary Labour Group at Holyrood also recognise that we have successfully progressed Labour policies during our time in administration,” she said.

“They understand our efforts are being hampered by our continued suspension and they therefore appreciate that the only people benefitting from the current situation are our political opponents.

“The SPLP are clear that they want the Scottish Executive Committee to open up discussions with ourselves regarding our reinstatement as full Labour Party members and we would obviously be very keen to see this happen.

“As a group we have worked hard to protect Aberdeen citizens from the impacted of cuts and by implementing our Labour manifesto we have invested in both the people and the place of Aberdeen in order to improve the lives of our citizens.

“Anas Sarwar has said that Labour should focus relentlessly on what unites us as a party and as a country, therefore, I hope that under his leadership, our current suspensions will be lifted in the very near future, so we can continue our work as full members of the Labour Party.”

Scottish Labour did not respond when asked for comment.

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