Scottish Labour drops candidate over ‘unacceptable’ pro-Russian posts on social media

Andy Brown
Andy Brown had been selected to fight Aberdeenshire North and Moray East for Scottish Labour

A Scottish Labour candidate has been dropped after he was accused of having written “unacceptable” pro-Russian posts on social media.

Anas Sarwar, the Scottish Labour leader, said his party had taken “swift action” to suspend Andy Brown, who had been the party’s candidate in the Aberdeenshire North and Moray East constituency.

It followed reports that Mr Brown shared content which played down the country’s role in the Salisbury poisonings.

Reports suggest he shared an article from Russian state media outlet RT which claimed the “toxin” used in the poisonings was “never produced in Russia, but was in service in the US, UK and other Nato states”.

The candidate has told the BBC he did not make the social media posts.

Dawn Sturgess, 44, died after being exposed to the nerve agent Novichok, which had been left in a discarded perfume bottle in Amesbury, Wiltshire, in July 2018.

It followed the attempted murders of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, his daughter Yulia, and  former police officer Nick Bailey, who were poisoned in nearby Salisbury in March that year.

All three survived, as did Ms Sturgess’s boyfriend, Charlie Rowley.

Speaking to the PA news agency during a General Election campaign visit, Mr Sarwar said: “We’ve taken swift action.

“New information came to light to us last night and within hours this candidate was suspended pending an investigation.

“I think that’s the right thing for us to do.”