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15 November 2017

Acting Scottish Labour leader Alex Rowley quits

Rowley said he was standing aside to clear his name. 

By Julia Rampen

Acting Scottish Labour leader Alex Rowley has resigned after a former partner made accusations against him, which he refutes. 

The allegations appeared in The Scottish Sun, and were made by a former partner who claimed he had emotionally abused her and contacted her after she asked him to desist. 

Rowley said he was standing aside so that the claims could be properly investigated, but added that he completely denied them.

He said in a statement: “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 carrie out, I will step aside as Deputy Leader, as well as Interim Leader, of the Scottish Labour Party.”

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The decision of Rowley, an ally of Jeremy Corbyn, to stand aside leaves the party rudderless as it awaits the outcome of the leadership election on 18 November 2017, after Kezia Dugdale quit in August. 

Rowley was initially expected to run, but ruled himself out early on, saying he had never wanted to be Scotland’s First Minister.

Richard Leonard, seen as the “Corbyn candidate” is the frontrunner, but some insiders believe his rival Anas Sarwar may do better than expected.