A LEADING trade unionist has said that Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard has not responded to a stinging letter he sent him on anti-Semitism in the party.

GMB Scotland complained about the “bewildering” decision to re-admit Renfrewshire councillor Jim Sheridan, who had been suspended over alleged anti-Semitism, but the union's Scotland Secretary Gary Smith said he had not received anything back.

A Scottish Labour source said Leonard had written a response within days, but is unclear if it had been sent.

Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership has been dogged by claims that he and some of his left-wing supporters are weak on anti-Semitism.

The UK party has struggled to deal with a huge volume of complaints alleging anti-Jewish sentiment by members, a row that partly led to the defection of nine MPs last month.

Scottish Labour has not been immune from the controversy and high-profile members have been investigated for questionable comments.

Councillor Sheridan, a former Labour MP, was suspended last year after saying he had lost “respect and empathy” for the Jewish community amid the anti-Semitism row.

He was re-admitted in January, but he antagonised his critics further by claiming his accusers had been “misguided” and had “overreacted”.

Days later, Smith wrote to Leonard to protest against the UK party move.

“The decision to re-admit Renfrewshire councillor, Jim Sheridan, to Labour Party membership on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day, following suspension for his remarks about Jewish people, was as insensitive as it was bewildering,” he wrote.

On Sheridan’s claims that his critics had overreacted, Smith wrote: “In my view these remarks undermine apologies for the hurt, and frankly horror, that has been caused and not just in the Jewish community. I am keen to know what your reaction is?”

He also contrasted Labour’s criticism of anti-Semitism in another party with how they handle complaints against their own members.

“When our union complained about anti-Semitism from members of another party in the aftermath of the Glasgow Women’s Strike – the Scottish Labour Party were not slow in seeking to intervene publicly.

“I do increasingly worry that there exists in some quarters of the left a willingness to tolerate behaviour that is intolerable so long as it is by individuals who are our supporters.”

Asked by The Herald on Sunday whether he had received a response to the Leonard letter, Smith said: “Not had one.”

Smith added that Scottish Labour having to work inside the UK party’s disciplinary structure was not an excuse for inaction.

“If the leader of Scottish Labour wanted rules in place that would allow us to deal with issues in Scotland more quickly, I’m sure that could have been done,” he said.

A party insider said Leonard had drafted the reply, which stated: "Anti-Semitism is a stain on our society and, while it exists in various forms and with various political motivations, you are right to say that those of us on the left still have more to do to eradicate it from our movement.

"As both the Leader of Scottish Labour and a member of our National Executive Committee, I am committed to ensuring we continue to build on this progress, and continue to work with Jewish communal groups and our trade unions to rebuild trust."

It is understood Leonard believed the letter had been sent and an apology will be offered to Smith if that is not the case.