Former Scottish Labour leadership hopeful Monica Lennon has revealed she banned her father from her wedding because of his addiction to alcohol.  

In an emotional interview with The Herald, the MSP has laid bare her struggles to get her father Gerry Ward to stop drinking up until his death at the age of 60.  

She said that her father had access to treatment, but hit out over their increasing scarcity, saying “rehab is only for the rich” in 2024.  

Ms Lennon’s father passed away in 2015, the year before she entered the Scottish Parliament.  

A former council health and safety officer, he retired at 51 and battled addiction throughout most of Ms Lennon’’s adult life.  

She said that the decision not to invite him to her wedding was not an easy one. 

She said: “He was really unwell. At the time when you are going through that with a loved one you have so many emotions, you’re angry, resentful, frustrated. It can bring out the worst in everyone,” she says.  

“I don’t think I had a choice. It wasn’t an easy time.”  

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The MSP for Central Scotland later fronted a campaign with the Conservative MSP Miles Briggs, who also lost his father to alcoholism, called See Beyond, See the Lives.  

The idea was to remove the stigma and blame around addiction and show it was an illness deserving of care and compassion.  

As part of the campaign, Lennon and Briggs wrote letters to their fathers. Lennon’s read: “I was always running towards you. Meeting you at the gate when you came home from work.”  

Later on there were times “it was too difficult to be around. Too many days when it was too painful to run to you. On those dark days when we were apart, I hope you know you were always loved.”