Anas Sarwar has had “positive conversations” with Labour bosses about readmitting an exiled group of Aberdeen councillors to the party.
The so-called “Aberdeen Nine” were suspended from Scottish Labour after entering a coalition with the Conservatives and Independents following the 2017 council elections.
The group had hoped to see their suspension lifted but after more than three years, they remain out in the cold – raising fears over their ability to stand in next year’s council elections.
Mr Sarwar, who was in London to meet with UK Labour Party bosses, told us he had raised the matter and was hopeful of a resolution.
The Scottish Labour leader also said work was underway to transfer party powers relating to complaints back to Edinburgh.
He said: “I had conversations with David Evans and the party staff and whilst not discussing specific cases I did talk about the complaints process in the round and the need for us to make much swifter and robust decision making, particularly in view of the council elections coming up next year.”
“I want to get back to a place in Scotland, like we had previously, where complaints regarding Scotland are dealt with in Scotland, with the caveat being in respect to the HRC recommendations.”
Mr Sarwar refuted the suggestion that Scottish Labour was being treated as a branch office on the matter.
He said: “I’m the boss in Scotland, I’m in charge in Scotland and I’m not shy about saying that direct to Keir’s face or Angela Rayner’s face or David Evans’ or indeed to the shadow cabinet or indeed publicly. I’m in charge, I’m the boss.
“We are taking the action necessary to get in a situation where complaints regarding Scotland are dealt with in Scotland.
“In terms of all the branch office tags, I just simply don’t accept it.”