COUNCILLOR Jim Sheridan has been named as the depute leader of Renfrewshire Labour – replacing Derek Bibby, writes Jack Thomson

The former MP, who had a suspension lifted from the party earlier this year, said he was “honoured” to be given the opportunity. 

He said: “I’m looking forward to it, it’s another challenge. I’m hoping to fulfil the role to its expectations. 

“I’m quite honoured that the group voted for me and felt I was capable.”

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Speaking about the allegations of anti-Semitism that led to his five month suspension, Councillor Sheridan said: “I was cleared so what people’s opinions are is entirely up to them. 

“I can’t influence them, nor do I wan to influence their opinions.”

Independent Councillor Andy Doig has claimed the axe fell on Councillor Bibby’s tenure as depute – a suggestion which has been denied by Labour group leader Eddie Devine. 

Councillor Doig said: “Derek and I were elected on the same day, and despite having had our differences he is, nonetheless, an articulate voice for the Labour cause both in the chamber and out in the wider community.

“His sacking makes as much sense as Richard Leonard sacking Anas Sarwar, another politician who was able to hold the SNP to account. 

“Renfrewshire Labour has definitely lost its way and is clearly struggling.”

Councillor Devine said the decision to install Councillor Sheridan – confirmed at the group’s annual general meeting – was “unanimous”.

He said: “Derek said he didn’t want to stand for a position the time round. I’ve got an email from him saying that. 

“Andy [Doig] can say whatever he likes because he’s got no one to answer to but Derek told us he didn’t want to stand. 

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“Both of us are getting older. All of the position changes were unanimous. There was no opposition to any of the positions.”

Councillor Sheridan will now sit as a Labour representative on the Leadership Board.

He will join Councillor Jim Harte – who has replaced Councillor Karen Kennedy – and Councillor Devine. 

Councillor Bibby has been contacted for comment.

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