Anas Sarwar heaps praise on Fife councillor ditched from election over ‘sexy and satanic’ fiction row

Anas Sarwar has heaped praise on a Labour candidate in Glenrothes who was forced to back out due to concerns books he had written were too “sexy and satanic”.

The Scottish Labour leader said Altany Craik was a “fantastic” councillor who has been a terrific servant for his party.

But Mr Sarwar refused to be drawn on whether Mr Craik should be allowed to run for a Westminster seat, claiming it was a matter for the party’s HQ.

It comes as fresh details emerged about exactly why Labour was so spooked about content within supernatural horror author Mr Craik’s novels.

One reviewer online described the novels as being filled with “graphic descriptions of gore, mutilation, rape, and foul language”.

We now understand party vetters were particularly concerned by a passage in the series’ third book depicting a sex scene between two underage girls.

It is thought Labour strategists are desperate to avoid any campaign being derailed.

Yet the bizarre row poses questions over why Mr Craik is suitable to serve on Fife Council if the party deems him unfit to become an MP.

He is the second most senior figure in the Kingdom’s Labour-led local government, serving as the finance and economy spokesperson.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar. Image: PA.

Speaking to The Courier, Mr Sarwar said: “Altany Craik has been – and is – a fantastic Labour councillor.

“He’s been a great activist and supporter of the Labour Party for many, many years.

“In terms of my own relationship with Altany, he’s a friend.”

He added: “The processes of selection are rightly independent from me as leader of our party.

“In terms of who decided to withdraw what, to be honest with you, I wouldn’t know the answer to that.”

Mr Craik unsuccessfully stood for his party nationally in the 2017 Westminster election and the 2021 Holyrood vote.

The fantasy author has published around 16 books, as part of a series which follows a priest who has been called in to investigate the occult.

Last week one Labour source told us it was “disgusting” Mr Craik was being directed to back out of the selection race.

The insider said: “They’re saying he’s not a suitable candidate because his books are too sexy and satanic.”

Mr Craik’s Labour opponent in the Glenrothes race said the party should reinstate him.

Lynn Davis insisted the Fife councillor has been a “supportive friend and ally” over the years.

Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh waded into the row. Image: Shutterstock.

Legendary Scottish author Irvine Welsh, most famous for writing Trainspotting, also waded into the local Labour row.

He joked: “Barbara Cartland‘s novels would be too sexy and satanic for Starmer’s Labour Party.”

The contest to pick a candidate for the seat – in an area currently represented by the SNP – is currently suspended.

Some senior Labour figures have suggested the party should “quietly allow” Mr Craik to return to the selection process in the New Year.

One added that the debacle had been “extremely embarrassing”.

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