Exclusive: Scottish Labour candidate embroiled in sexism row ditched by party executive 

Alasdair Clark

Labour hopeful Asim Khan has been blocked from standing as the party’s candidate in Glasgow South West 

A WOULD-BE Labour candidate once branded as “untruthful” by a judge has been barred from standing for selection by the Scottish party’s ruling executive following a bitter row over alleged sexism. 

Lawyer Asim Khan was accused of a failure to protect a woman who was awarded damages after being harassed and victimised by the chief of the now-defunct Roshni organisation. 

CommonSpace understands that Khan faced a panel of the party’s ruling Scottish executive committee [SEC] in late June, which ruled that the Westminster hopeful was not eligible to stand for selection on its key target seat, Glasgow South West. 

Confirming the decision, a Scottish Labour spokesperson told CommonSpace: “Asim Khan has been removed from the shortlist of candidates for Glasgow South West by the Scottish Executive Committee following a hearing.”

Khan came under scrutiny after a Sunday Herald investigation revealed his involvement in the Roshni organisation, and 10 women from his local Scottish Labour branch wrote to party bosses declaring him “unfit” to be a candidate. 

The lawyer was criticised by local party members for failing to inform the party about the tribunal and disclose his full involvement with the Roshni organisation scandal. 

The party’s former MP for the area, Ian Davidson, who lost his seat in 2015, said: “Matt Kerr took Labour to within 60 votes of winning and there is absolutely no reason for anyone to deselect him as the candidate for any future election. 

“Asim Khan has now been shown to be clearly unsuitable. Those who backed him should now get behind Matt Kerr and help to secure a Labour win in the seat.” 

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Khan, who was supported by Anas Sarwar, was standing against the party’s 2017 candidate Matt Kerr, who was backed by left-wing factions within Scottish Labour including Momentum. 

Scottish Labour’s newly formed Women’s movement also expressed doubts over Khan’s candidacy, and a spokesperson for the group welcomed the party’s decision: “This is the right decision and shows that the Scottish Labour Party and the SEC value women’s place in the party. We should never be in a position where someone with such a terrible record on equality can put themselves forward to represent the party of Equality.”

The decision brings to an end a long-running selection row which also involved a court battle in May 2018 after Khan disputed the party’s decision around the “cut-off” date which limited who would have a vote in the local selection contest. 

The party was forced to overturn its ruling by the court of session and extend the date, but this latest decision will mean Khan is off the ballot regardless. 

Update: Asim Khan told CommonSpace after publication that he would be challenging the decision by Scottish Labour in court. 

“This is a disappointing decision and I intend to take legal action.  I have already spoken to my legal team. 

“There have been repeated malicious attempts to undermine this selection process. It’s important that we have an open and fair contest so that members in Glasgow South West can help deliver a Labour MP and a Labour government,” Khan said in a statement to CommonSpace. 

Picture: Scottish Labour 

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