Scottish Labour suspends MSP Alex Rowley following abuse allegations
Scottish Labour has suspended MSP Alex Rowley hours after he stood aside as interim leader following allegations of abuse.
Mr Rowley dramatically quit earlier today over allegations reported by The Sun that he sent abusive messages to an ex-partner.
An anonymous woman said he had “destroyed" her life and left her “a shadow of the woman I once was”.
The party has since confirmed that he has had the whip withdrawn, having been suspended as a member of the Scottish Labour parliamentary group.
A spokesperson said the whip “will remain withdrawn from Mr Rowley during the period of his investigation into allegations made in the Sun newspaper today.”
The Fife MSP – who today resigned as deputy leader of the party – was appointed interim leader after Kezia Dugdale quit in the wake of the June general election.
He said in a statement earlier today: "I totally refute these allegations and will take all steps necessary to clear my name.
"These allegations must be properly and thoroughly investigated in line with our party's procedures - and I will refer myself to the party so such an investigation can take place.
"While that investigation is carried out, I will step aside as deputy leader, as well as interim leader, of the Scottish Labour party."
The woman in question told the Scottish Sun of the messages: “Sometimes they were blank, others said things for example, ‘Hello you evil b*****d’.”
The 49-year-old mother claimed she endured three years of abuse and said she named him to the police in 2014, adding: “He was a control freak and enough was enough.”
It comes as the contest between Richard Leonard and Anas Sarwar to be the next party leader draws to a close.
Earlier today Mr Leonard called for Mr Rowley's suspension, while Mr Sarwar branded the claims "serious and deeply concerning".
Scottish Labour Business Manager James Kelly said: “It is important that the investigation into these allegations is fair and transparent, and the matter will be thoroughly investigated using the Labour Party’s internal complaints procedure.
“However, in light of the serious nature of the allegations, Labour at Holyrood has taken the decision to remove the whip from Alex Rowley for the period of this investigation.”
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