Former Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has attacked her successor Richard Leonard accusing him of censoring anti-Brexit remarks as Scottish Labour prepares for its spring conference.
Ms Dugdale has written an angry email to the Scottish Labour leader claiming that he had ordered the removal of comments supporting a People’s Vote from conference literature and insulted two senior members of the party.
The email exposes divisions within Scottish Labour over Brexit as the party heads to Dundee tomorrow for its annual gathering.
Ms Dugdale made a complaint over treatment of Scottish Labour’s two MEPs David Martin and Catherine Stihler.
She claimed there was no formal opportunity for them to speak at conference or be thanked for their combined 55 years of service to Labour.
In addition, Ms Dugdale said she was “shocked” to learn from Ms Stihler that a comment she submitted to the conference guide in support of a second Brexit vote had been altered without her permission.
In her email to Mr Leonard, Ms Dugdale said Ms Stihler was told that the change was made on the instructions of the Scottish Labour leader.
Ms Dugdale also claimed Ms Stihler’s section in the conference guide had originally included a statement in support of a People’s Vote on Brexit.
The section had stated: “Brexit is a tragedy for our country and for the workers and communities that Labour represents. That’s why David and Catherine fully support a People’s Vote with the option to remain in the EU.”
However, according to Ms Dugdale, the section was replaced with: “The complete mess the Tories have made of Brexit means they are putting Scottish people’s jobs and our industries at risk. Labour will always put them first.”
Ms Dugdale said: “I find that wholly inappropriate and I can’t possibly understand why you would seek to censor her final words to party members, especially since what she states is party policy and has been since last September.
“Can I encourage you to please take urgent steps to rectify what I consider to be a considerable insult and ensure that we thank these two outstanding MEPs properly at conference.”
A spokesman for Ms Stihler said: “Catherine is a long-standing supporter of a People’s Vote and will be making her views clear as a Labour Party member at this weekend’s conference.”
A source close to Mr Leonard said: “This was a genuine misunderstanding and Richard has written to Catherine and David to apologise.”