Rowley resigns as Deputy Leader of Scottish Labour

17 December 2017, 06:21 | Updated: 17 December 2017, 06:29

Alex Rowley Scottish Labour

The deputy leader of the Scottish Labour Party has resigned from his role.

Alex Rowley announced the news in a statement following the outcome of a Labour investigation into claims of harassment made against him.

The MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife said he was disappointed the panel was unable to fully investigate the claims and that he did not have the chance to answer them.

Mr Rowley has informed new Scottish leader Richard Leonard of his intentions to give up the role.

He said: "Today, I have informed Richard Leonard that I do not intend to resume the role of deputy leader of the Scottish Labour Party.

"I am pleased the panel has discharged the case which I referred to them, but I am disappointed that they were unable fully to investigate - and I to have the opportunity to answer - the allegations, which relate to the acrimonious end to a relationship nearly five years ago.

"This means the only opportunity to do so would have been through the media and I am not prepared to cause that distress to my family.

"I am in politics to fight for social, political and economic change to improve the lives of working people. I will continue that work as a Labour MSP for the region of Mid Scotland and Fife."

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said he had asked Lesley Laird MSP to take on the role in the immediate term.

He said: "Following on from Alex Rowley's decision to resign from the position of deputy leader of the Scottish Labour Party, I have asked Lesley Laird to assume the position on an interim basis.

"I have spoken to Alex and for the sake of his family he has decided to step down from this important role.

"He informs me that it is a decision he made some time ago. He is a loyal and experienced member of the Labour Group in the Scottish Parliament and will continue to play a part in rebuilding the Labour Party in Scotland."