McAveety under fire for hiring ‘coffin dodger’ remark candidate

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A disgraced Labour MSP has come under fire after it emerged that he had hired a former Labour election candidate who had been sacked after making derogatory remarks about old people and ethnic minorities.

An SNP MSP has reacted angrily to the news that Stuart McLennan had been employed by Frank McAveety to work in the Labour MSP’s constituency office in Glasgow.

 

A disgraced Labour MSP has come under fire after it emerged that he had hired a former Labour election candidate who had been sacked after making derogatory remarks about old people and ethnic minorities.

An SNP MSP has reacted angrily to the news that Stuart McLennan had been employed by Frank McAveety to work in the Labour MSP’s constituency office in Glasgow.

MacLennan was sacked as Labour’s candidate for Moray during the general election campaign when it emerged that he had labelled old people “coffin dodgers”.  He also made offensive references to ethnic minorities and alluded to sectarian football songs.

Frank McAveety was recently forced to step down from his position as Labour sports spokesman and Petitions Committee convener after making remarks about a young female sitting in the Parliament’s public gallery.

Mr McAveety was heard to say: “There’s a very attractive girl in the second row, dark … and dusky. We’ll maybe put a wee word out for her.”

“She’s very attractive looking, nice, very nice, very slim. The heat’s getting to me.”

SNP MSP Bill Kidd said it was “beyond a joke” that someone like McLennan could be employed by McAveety.

Mr Kidd said:
“This is clearly the office for inappropriate and offensive comments.

“Two men and their big mouths in one office is a recipe for disaster.

“After Mr McAveety’s inappropriate comments, it is beyond a joke that he hires as a staff member someone whose attitude has been publicly exposed as being as bad as his.”

Comments by MacLennan included calling people in the north of Scotland “teuchters” and jokes about slavery.  However Mr MacLennan hit back at the SNP and accused them of using him as a “pawn” for party political gain.

The former Labour party researcher said: “I have spent the last four months apologising to people for what happened in April, when I was removed as Labour’s candidate for Moray.

“I have been trying to move on with my life then this happens. I am just devastated.

“Today I have been thinking: ‘Just how many times do I have to be punished for my offence?’ I am not looking to re-build my political career. I just want a job.”

Mr McAveety claimed that Mr MacLennan was an unpaid volunteer who did not deal with constituency work while based at his office.

A Labour party spokesman confirmed that Mr MacLennan remained suspended from the party.

Mr MacLennan is not the first person suspended by the Labour party to have been controversially re-employed.  In July, developers Allan Stewart and Stephen McKenna, both Labour party donors, announced they had given disgraced former Labour boss Steven Purcell a post with their charitable foundation.

The businessmen are behind several housing projects in and around Glasgow.  In 2007, shortly after the Labour controlled Glasgow council agreed to pay them £1.7 million for a plot of land, one of their firms gave £5000 to Scottish Labour.  In 2006 Mr Stewart gave £4100 to his local Labour party in East Kilbride.

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