Labour councillor escapes disciplinary action over Humza Yousaf tweet

Scott Arthur says the tweet was a mistake and has offered to meet Humza Yousaf to apologise in person. Picture: Contributed
Scott Arthur says the tweet was a mistake and has offered to meet Humza Yousaf to apologise in person. Picture: Contributed

An Edinburgh Labour councillor has escaped disciplinary action from the party after it accepted a tweet targeting SNP Transport Secretary Humza Yousaf was a “stupid mistake”.

Cllr Scott Arthur publicly apologised after causing offence with a mock poll asking if Mr Yousaf was attracted to politics by the 9/11 attacks, the Iraq War or the photo calls.

The Colinton/Fairmilehead councillor was summoned to a meeting yesterday with Labour group leader Cammy Day and group whip Maureen Child over his conduct.

Mr Yousaf had said he did not believe Cllr Arthur would have written the tweet “had I been a non-Muslim and had I been white”. And he had called for him to be suspended pending an investigation.

After yesterday’s meeting Cllr Day said: “We had a robust discussion with Scott, who made it clear it was a stupid mistake.

“He realised without the context of the stories about Humza being inconsistent on why he had entered politics, people might well perceive the tweet as a comment that was less than helpful.

“Scott has been warned by me that this is unacceptable and he has to have a real think about what he puts up on social media and how it might be seen. I’m satisfied there was no malice behind what was said.

“He has issued an unreserved apology. He reminded us he has been involved in supporting a lot of people who have been victims of hate crime in his own ward.

“Both in his professional life and at the council he works with people of all religions and faiths and in no way does that affect his thinking.”

Cllr Day said he had offered to meet Mr Yousaf to reassure him of the commitment of the whole Edinburgh Labour group to equality and diversity and Cllr Arthur had separately asked to meet Mr Yousaf to make an apology.

He said Cllr Child would report on the matter to the Labour group executive on Monday.

But he said: “We have both come to the same conclusion that this was a stupid mistake and we are reassured by Scott’s commitment that it won’t happen again, his unreserved apology and his offer to meet Humza. No disciplinary action will be taken. We accept it was a genuine mistake.”

He said he had spoken to the Labour headquarters in Glasgow and they also accepted the tweet had been a mistake.

Cllr Arthur said: “This was a genuine mistake on my part which has been quite difficult for me to come terms with. As soon as I recognised my mistake I offered and unreserved apology and also said I was happy to meet with Humza Yousaf to discuss the issue personally. I am grateful for the opportunity to discuss this with Cllr Day, and also for the support my friends and family given me.”