The leader of Scottish Labour has snubbed Perth to back Paisley’s campaign to become the UK City of Culture.
Kezia Dugdale visited the Renfrewshire town yesterday to champion its 2021 bid as her deputy Alex Rowley banged the drum for the Fair City’s rival campaign.
The clash threatens to exacerbate the tensions in the party’s leadership over their differing positions on Scottish independence and Jeremy Corbyn’s premiership.
Mr Rowley told The Courier they should “not fall out” over their support for the rival bids.
Asked if it was right for his boss to pick between the two cities when neither falls into the area she represents, he said: “I think it’s a choice for Kezia but I’m sure she would be delighted whichever Scottish bid is successful.
“I have spent lots of time with Kezia in Perth and she knows what a great city it is.
“Let’s not fall out over this. At the end of the day they are both excellent bids and a lot of hard work has gone into it, but I represent Mid Scotland and Fife and my support lies with Perth.”
Mr Rowley said Perth, which is hosting Scottish Labour’s spring conference again next year, is a “lovely” city but has been “under-sold” and “doesn’t get the recognition it deserves”.
On her visit to Paisley, Ms Dugdale said she is delighted to back Paisley’s bid.
“I had the privilege of meeting with some very talented and engaging young people,” she said. “All they need is the right support to have a fair chance in life. Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 can be part of that.”
Labour’s traditional heartlands of Glasgow and its satellite towns will be a key battleground between Ms Dugdale’s party and the SNP in May’s council’s elections.