A SCOTTISH Labour MSP who was suspended after being accused of harassing an ex-partner has returned to Holyrood.

Alex Rowley stepped aside as the party’s interim leader last month over allegations he sent a series of abusive messages to a former lover.

The woman accused the Mid Scotland and Fife MSP of being a “ruthless bully” who made her life “hell”.

Labour chiefs are still investigating the claims, but yesterday Mr Rowley returned to Holyrood after an absence of more than a month.

He said there was an “ongoing inquiry by the Labour Party” with which he was “cooperating fully”.

He added: “I’ve not really got much more to say at this time – I can’t until that process has taken its time and is investigated properly."

The MSP said he spent three weeks off ill with a chest infection, after which he worked in his constituency and “caught up on a lot of reading and policy areas”.

Asked if he was confident of being cleared, he said: “Well I am, but as I say the process needs to be allowed to take its course, and that’s why I wouldn’t comment further on that until the process has taken its course, and I’m cooperating fully with that.”

But a Labour source blasted the former deputy leader, adding: “Alex is still an MSP, collecting his taxpayer-funded salary, yet he didn’t turn up for his job for over a month.

“He might be suspended from the Labour group, but he’s not suspended from representing his constituents. He can fight to clear his name while still doing his job.

“Some in the party have accused Kez of demeaning politics by appearing on the country’s most popular TV show.

“They really need to ask themselves who is actually demeaning our politics.”