Former head of Orange Order must abide by Labour values – Sarwar

Henry Dunbar has been selected to stand in Airdrie North in the local elections in May.

06 March 2022

The former head of the Orange Order in Scotland should abide by Labour values if he is to run as a candidate in May’s council elections, leader Anas Sarwar has said.

Henry Dunbar, who was previously the grand master of the organisation, will stand for the party in the Airdrie North ward on North Lanarkshire Council.

Mr Dunbar told the Herald this week he “liked” the values of Labour and those of Mr Sarwar and UK leader Keir Starmer.

Speaking to journalists on the final day of his first in-person conference as leader, Mr Sarwar refused to say he whether he is comfortable with Mr Dunbar’s selection as a candidate.

“Local candidates are selected by local parties,” he said.

“He has the support of his local party. I expect him to abide by those values and I would hope that not only does he abide by those values, but he expresses horror and outrage at any form of prejudice or hate, and that’s what I would expect from all of our candidates.”

It is understood that any move to remove Mr Dunbar from contention centrally could be a breach of equalities legislation.

The leader – who emphasised in an almost hour-long speech to the party’s conference on Friday the need for all members to stand up against prejudice – added: “Let me be absolutely unequivocal about this: I expect every single person who stands as a Labour candidate or who is a Labour Party member to be outright in their opposition to all forms of prejudice or hate.

Orange walk through Glasgow
Henry Dunbar was the grand master of the Orange Lodge in Scotland (Robert Perry/PA)

“This really, really matters to me. I think anyone that listened to the speech on Friday will understand this really matters to me.

“Prejudice and hate is real – all forms of prejudice and hate are real.

“There can be no hierarchy of prejudice – we can’t pick and choose – and therefore we can only credibly change our country if we accept, yes, Islamophobia exists, yes, racism exists, yes, homophobia exists, but anti-Catholic hatred exists too.

“For too many people that is a real experience.

“I am robust on that – anybody that breaches those principles, I will not be willing to tolerate.”

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