A PSYCHIC medium who claims to have communicated with the spirit of John F Kennedy and who quit politics in an expenses scandal has been chosen by Labour for next year's crucial local elections.

Gary Gray makes the Glasgow shortlist along with Muhammad Shoaib, who headed up the Asians for Independence group and defected from the SNP last year following a fallout over party selections for the Westminster elections.

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HeraldScotland:

Gary Gray, a spiritualist who quit the city council in an expenses row

Mr Shoaib had been a Labour councillor in the city until 2003 but was dropped by the party due to criminal allegations he was later cleared of.

As Labour fires the starting pistol in efforts to retain control of the country's biggest council, others selected include trade unionists, Jeremy Corbyn supporters, two former MSPs, party apparatchiks and a female Episcopalian priest.

Notably, with 85 wards expected to be contested in the city, Labour will field only 43 candidates next May, prompting speculation its electoral strategy is to become a minority administration.

HeraldScotland:

Muhammed Shoaib, a former SNP member, has returned as a candidate for Labour, the party which dropped him in 2003

Internal party documents show 16 potential candidates were rejected at interview and application stage, while less than a third of those shortlisted are female.

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They also mention concerns raised about the wave of industrial action at the city council in recent years, with candidates to quiz council leader Frank McAveety and his whip at a later meeting.

The document states: "There was additionally a discussion about the alarming number of strikes taking place in past two years. The meeting considered how to hold our councillors to account, however, the meeting was unanimous it was not the place of the Forum to do this within the current process. At the next meeting of the Forum, members will be invited to bring questions to the leader and business manager of the council.

"The meeting was reminded that we could not disclose the details of those who had been rejected, as there is an appeals process still on-going."

A spokesman for the city council's SNP group, which said it had a copy of the shortlist leaked to it, said: "To claim that Labour's talent pool has run dry would be an exaggeration of just how bad things clearly are. In 2012 they supposedly gave us their A Team and in 2017 it looks like they can't even pull together a Z Team."

Reputedly one of Scotland's leading spiritualists, Mr Gray, 43, stood down in late 2005 as councillor Milton ward in the north of the city after revelations he claimed more than pounds £8000 in subsistence and mileage.

A psychic medium since the age of nine, Mr Gray is also campaign coordinator for his Labour branch in the north of the city.

Mr Shoaib was forced to deny allegations that as a Labour councillor he billed constituents for advice in 1998, later fighting a three-year legal battle to clear his name after facing benefit fraud charges in 2003.

A Sheriff delivered a not proven verdict and Shoaib went on to join the SNP and was one of nine candidates vying to be selected in Glasgow Central.

Others on the shortlist are Unison equalities officer and former by-election candidate Eileen Dinning, policy officer for the union Stephen Low, Rev. Maggie McTernan, an assistant priest at St Margaret's Episcopalian Church in Newlands, former MSPs Anne McTaggart and Hanzala Malik and party staffer Kayleigh Quinn.

A Labour spokesman said: "Ahead of next year's elections we will put forward a positive vision for stopping the SNP's cuts to local services and investing in schools and the NHS.

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"We have a strong pool of champions for Glasgow who will campaign based on the principle that everybody deserves a fair chance in life no matter their background. It will be a team whose priority will be to continue delivering for Glasgow not obsessed with another referendum."