Anas Sarwar has said his party’s complaints process is “broken” and pledged to fix the problem.
The newly-elected Labour leader said he felt he was failed by the process when he alleged that Labour councillor Davie McLachlan made a racial remark to him, an allegation which was thrown out by the party’s UK-wide national constitution committee (NCC).
The decision led to then leader, Richard Leonard, describing the process as “flawed”.
A similar complaint, made by Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf against Dumfries and Galloway councillor Jim Dempster, has been working its way through the process for more than three years.
Mr Dempster was suspended by Labour but continues to serve as a councillor.
When asked about the situation on Monday, Mr Sarwar said: “As someone that has been through the Labour Party’s complaints process as a complainant in recent times, probably around the same time as the [complaint made by Mr Yousaf], the system is not fit for purpose.
“The system is broken.
“I as a complainant did not feel like the system worked for me and I have been on the front line of the Labour Party for the last 10 years.
“I recognise the system is broken, I recognise the system has to be fixed and I am determined as someone who wants to root out prejudice and hatred across our society, I recognise that the Labour Party has to be the gold standard.
“It hasn’t been in recent times and I want that to fundamentally change.”
Referencing Mr Dempster’s case specifically, Mr Sarwar said there should be punishment, but also space for education.
“Alongside that, there also has to be a process where we can educate people, make them learn and make them advocates [against] the very prejudice they perhaps perpetuated before,” he said.
“That’s what I want our system to do is, yes, be a system that roots out prejudice and hatred but I also want us to build a system where we can educate people and bring people together so we can root out prejudice and hate in all its forms.”