EXCL Labour candidate says party does not 'deserve' support because of anti-semitism
A Labour candidate has claimed that the party does not "deserve" voters' support because of its failure to tackle anti-semitism.
In extraordinary comments, Carolann Davidson said the party "has totally failed from the leadership down" to deal with the issue.
Ms Davidson is standing as Labour's candidate in East Renfrewshire, the constituency with the highest proportion of Jewish voters in Scotland.
She also sought to reassure local people that the party still contained members who were "not willing to surrender the party ... to racists and conspiracy theorists".
Speaking at a hustings debate on Wednesday night, she said: "I know for almost everyone here, that I can’t stand here and ask for your vote. I’m not going to, because we don’t deserve it.
"Labour has totally failed, from the leadership down, about anti-Semitism. So I’m not here asking for your vote, so you’ll say why are you here as a Labour candidate?
"I want to reassure you as a community that there are still people within the Labour party who are not willing to surrender the party, that was once the strongest ally of the Jewish Community, to racists and conspiracy theorists.
"I can’t defend the indefensible. What I can do is tell you who I am and what I stand for."
Ms Davidson said she had confronted Karie Murphy, Jeremy Corbyn's chief of staff, over the issue following a debate on anti-semitism at the Scottish Labour conference earlier this year.
"The very fact that she kept repeating that because some Jewish groups were ok with the Labour Party, she seemed to think that was all fine," she said. "I will admit I was horrified, and I told her exactly what I thought."
She added: "I know I won’t convince many of you tonight, but I can at least reassure you in this fight – I [am] are on your side. The Labour Party has to just stop saying ‘it’s dealing with anti-Semitism’. It needs to actually do it."
Tory-held East Renfrewshire was a Labour seat from 1997 until 2015, and is now a Conservative-SNP marginal.
The Labour party has been approached for comment.
Ms Davidson's remarks came in the same week that Jeremy Corbyn was criticised for failing to apologise for the way Labour has dealt with anti-semitism complaints.
It also emerged on Thursday morning that the party's candidate in Falkirk had been dumped by the party over anti-semitic Facebook posts.