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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Aletha Adu

Labour candidate in Scotland suspended over ‘racist’ social media activity

Wilma Brown photographed outdoors in a Kirkcaldy street: she has long, straight blond hair and is wearing a white shirt and bright red jacket
Wilma Brown deleted her account on X after some of her tweets were reported to the Labour party. Photograph: Euan Cherry/PA

Labour has suspended a parliamentary candidate pending an investigation after she was found to have liked and shared a number of “racist” and controversial social media posts.

Wilma Brown, who was running in the target seat of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, once held by the former prime minister Gordon Brown, has since deleted her account on X after a string of tweets were reported to the party.

A constituent in the Scottish seat had compiled a list of tweets highlighting Brown’s activity online. Brown had liked a post that told an Indian man he would “never be an Englishman”, and another calling Scotland’s first minister, Humza Yousaf, the “first minister of Gaza” and “Hamas Yousless”.

Scottish Labour received reports over Brown’s social media on Tuesday night and the party suspended her the next day, it is understood.

The action taken marks a sharp contrast to the handling of the suspension of Azhar Ali, Labour’s candidate for the Rochdale byelection, who was forced to apologise after remarks he had made about Israel surfaced. He was suspended 48 hours later.

Martin Forde KC, who was commissioned by the Labour leader, Keir Starmer, to investigate allegations of bullying, racism and sexism within the party, said the party’s handling of Ali’s “very inflammatory” and “clearly antisemitic” remarks “appears shambolic”.

Brown, a Unison activist and NHS nurse, had also liked tweets suggesting Yousaf had complained that there were “too many white people in Scotland”.

In 2020, Yousaf, the then justice secretary, had taken part in a debate in Holyrood challenging racism after the murder of George Floyd. He highlighted how many prominent public roles were held by white people. “Some people have been surprised or taken aback by my mention on my social media that at 99% of the meetings that I go to, I am the only non-white person in the room,” he said in a speech. “Why are we so surprised when the most senior positions in Scotland are filled almost exclusively by people who are white?”

A Labour party spokesperson said: “The Labour party takes all complaints seriously. They are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures, and any appropriate action is taken.”

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