Anas Sarwar defends general election candidate selections from outside Scotland

Anas Sarwar has defended Labour's decision to select general election candidates from England in Scottish seats.

The Scottish Labour leader told journalists he would not “turn my back” on candidates from down south who had a “connection” or “love” for Scotland.

A councillor from Kent, Elizabeth Carr-Ellis, will represent the party in Angus and Perthshire Glens, with Eva Kestner, a London councillor, selected to contest the Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross constituency.

Melanie Ward, the chief executive of the charity Medical Aid for Palestinians, will fight the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath seat despite living in London.

Speaking after he delivered a speech at the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow, Sarwar told journalists: “There are people who have connections and ties to Scotland, who want to come and serve the Scottish people.

“I am not going to turn my back on someone that has a love for Scotland, history with Scotland or a connection with Scotland that wants to deliver for the people of Scotland.”

He added: “I’m proud of our candidates. We’re brimming with talent, we’re brimming with confidence and I can’t wait to elect a whole host of new Scottish MPs and a whole host of new Scottish Labour MSPs.”

Sarwar also defended the selection of Ward for the key seat in Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath.

She was selected after the previous candidate Wilma Brown was deselected following the discovery of offensive social media posts.

The Scottish Labour leader said Ward was a “phenomenal candidate”.

He added: “She is spending every minute of every day trying to get lifesaving supplies into the Gaza Strip, to save people’s lives, to get them the necessary treatment they need because of a completely broken health system.

“Nobody can tell me she is not a phenomenal candidate standing in a Scottish seat who would be a great champion for the Scottish Labour Party and deliver change for the Scottish people whilst also celebrating Labour’s internationalism to defeat poverty and injustice right around the world.”

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