A former Scottish Labour minister is the subject of a formal complaint to the party over alleged bullying and misogyny, the Herald can reveal.

Frank McAveety, now a senior Glasgow City councillor, is accused of shouting so hard at one of his female colleagues in his office that he was “red and shaking”.

The woman says she backed out the room with her hands up saying “stop shouting at me”. 

It is understood Scottish Labour general secretary John-Paul McHugh has spoken to the woman councillor about the situation.

READ MORE: Inside the chaos of blank degrees, marking boycotts and strike action

Cllr McAveety, 61, dropped out of a Westminster candidate selection contest earlier this year amid disquiet about previous sleazy comments he made while at Holyrood.

In 2010 he quit as a committee convener after being overheard saying a girl in the public gallery was “very attractive” and “dark and dusky”. It later emerged she was 15.

The official complaint comes as Labour tries to focus on the Rutherglen & Hamilton West by-election, which is seen as critical to its general election prospects.

Cllr McAveety has been campaigning in the seat on behalf of Labour’s candidate.

The woman filed a detailed statement about Cllr McAveety to Labour’s complaints unit this week under the “bullying, intimidation or harassment” and “sexism or misogyny” categories.

The Herald is not identifying her.

Labour said all complaints made to it are "fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures, and any appropriate action is taken".

Cllr McAveety is Labour’s business manager on the SNP-run council, overseeing votes and discipline, and acts as right-hand man to opposition leader George Redmond.

It is understood that in the complaint, the female councillor reports feeling “scared and confused” after a meeting with Cllr McAveety after last year’s council elections.

She describes being alone with him and says he asked if she had heard of him being “a misogynist” and described the “tough love” he received in a violent childhood.

The woman said she tried to avoid Cllr McAveety after that.

The Herald:

Later, in an incident she regretted, the woman called a policy officer a “d***” in an email, considering it to be in keeping with their friendly relations outside work. 

Although she apologised, she says Cllr McAveety used the incident to target her. 

She said he accused her in a phone call of bringing “shame” on the party, warned of a complaint to an ethics watchdog, and that his “threats and shouting became unbearable”.

She said a second call turned into a “full character assassination”, and that his tone was “wild and growling” and he repeatedly asked her: “Who do you think you are?”

In the months that followed, the woman said she corresponded with Cllr McAveety’s deputy, Maureen Burke, and felt “targeted and singled out” for attention while complaints about inappropriate and sexist comments by male councillors appeared to go unpunished.

After taking advice from another female politician and emailing her concerns to the business manager’s office, there was a lull during which Cllr McAveety “seemed very pleasant”.

However this changed after the Labour group’s AGM in May and “it all started again”.

She said she was called to a meeting in Cllr McAveety’s office at which Cllr Burke was also present and where Cllr McAveety demanded to know why she was avoiding him.

She said he “kept shouting why? why? why?” and “banged both hands on the table”.

She said he was “red and shaking” and later “moved towards me” prompting her to back out of the room with her hands out saying “stop shouting at me”.

She said she then called Scottish Labour’s general secretary and “told him everything” at a later meeting. Although he tried to help behind-the-scenes, it did not work, she said. 

She also complained Cllr McAveety demeaned her in front of other Labour councillors, although not by name, referring to disciplinary procedures involving her at group meetings.

She said she had tried to avoid “blowing the whistle at this formal level” but there was a problem in the party with “who is friends with who”.

Cllr McAveety was leader of Glasgow City Council from 1997 to 1999 and from 2015 to 2017, and was the MSP for Glasgow Shettleston from 1999 to 2011.

His deputy, Cllr Burke, is Labour’s general election candidate in Glasgow North East.

Last week Scottish Labour deputy Jackie Baillie accused the SNP of being the most “scandal-struck party in Scottish political history” as part of the Rutherglen by-election fight.

However the move backfired, as allegations then emerged of a “poisonous” culture in the Labour group running South Lanarkshire Council, which covers the seat.

The Herald:

Cllr McAveety campaigned in Blantyre last month as part of the by-election effort.

In 2010, Mr McAveety, a former culture minister, resigned as convener of Holyrood’s petitions committee after being caught making lecherous remarks about a schoolgirl.

The parliament’s microphones captured him saying: "There's a very attractive girl in the second row, dark... and dusky. We'll maybe put a wee word out for her."

The then married MSP went on: "She's very attractive looking, nice, very nice, very slim," adding: "The heat's getting to me. She looks kinda... she's got that Filipino look. You know... the kind you'd see in a Gauguin painting. There's a wee bit of culture."

READ MORE: Rangers win legal fees battle with American businesswoman Kyle Fox

Earlier this year, Cllr McAveety tried to become a Labour general election candidate.

He was one of four shortlisted for a joint selection in Glasgow East and Glasgow North East.

After the executive of the local party tried to reduce the list to just Cllr McAveety and Cllr Burke, effectively selecting them without a members’ vote, there was an angry backlash and Scottish Labour intervened to suspend the contest in January.

The Labour Women’s Network also criticised the party for “turning a blind eye” on the “deeply sexualised and racist remarks” he had made in 2010. 

The LWN said: “Selection processes are rightly devolved but the need to protect women and girls is universal. Men whose behaviour raises red flags should not be further empowered.”

Within days, Cllr McAveety had withdrawn from the selection battle.

A Labour party spokesperson said: "The Labour Party takes all complaints seriously. 

"They are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures, and any appropriate action is taken."

Cllr McAveety was contacted for comment.