Byline: WILLIAM CLARK
THE Labour leadership received another blow last night when Pat Lally revealed he is to sue them for damages over his suspension from the party following sleaze allegations.
His action will outrage party leaders still smarting at the embarrassment of being forced to drop their action against Mr Lally, Lord Provost of Glasgow.
Mr Lally's decision also dashed any hopes Labour had of drawing a line under the issue, and raised fears that if the legal action drags on it could damage the party as it begins campaigning for next year's elections to the Scottish parliament.
The SNP, who are running neck and neck with Labour in the polls to be the majority party in the 129 member parliament, last night revelled in Labour's discomfort.
A spokesman said: 'Just as Labour thought it was safe to step out of the courtroom Pat Lally wants to drag them back in again.
'Having opened this legal Pandora's box the Labour Party are finding it is impossible to close it again.' Former Glasgow Lord Provost Peter McCann, who represents Mr Lally, confirmed he expected to launch a legal action 'within weeks'.
He said: 'The Scottish Labour party are not getting off the hook.
There is a price to be paid because of their lack of justice and proper restraint.
'In my opinion United States President Clinton need not have gone to Peking to lecture the Chinese on democracy. He could have given the same lecture to Scottish Labour in Glasgow.' Mr McCann, who warned Labour officials during the botched 14-month campaign to oust Mr Lally that they had no evidence, added: 'The Lord Provost was placed in the public gaze in a dreadful situation when he was completely innocent.
'They now admit …