THE former world leader of the Orange Order is now a Scottish Labour councillor in North Lanarkshire.

Henry Dunbar will represent the party for the first time in the Airdrie North ward.

He polled 1,170 of the 5,565 first preference votes, and was elected alongside Sophia Coyle and Richard Sullivan of the SNP and Independent Alan Beveridge.

Mr Dunbar's fellow Labour candidate, Peter Kelly, failed to get elected after getting just 463 first preference votes.

Ian McNeil, who has been executive officer of the Orange Order in Scotland since 2019, failed to get re-elected as a Labour councillor in neighbouring Airdrie South.

Mr Dunbar, 66, was Scotland’s most senior orangeman from 2010 to 2016, when he was Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland.

He was a prominent pro-Union figure in the independence referendum, helping to organise the biggest No event of 2014, when 15,000 orange men and women marched through Edinburgh the weekend before the vote.

A Channel 4 News report of the gathering showed him telling the crowd: “Mister Salmond, you will not con the loyal Protestant people of Scotland. No to independence and no surrender to separatism."

Mr Dunbar then went on to become the most senior orangeman in the world, after being elected as its Imperial President in 2015 for a three-year term.

The Orange Order describes itself as the “oldest and biggest Protestant fraternity in Scotland”, with members who are “bonded together to promote the ideals of our faith”. 

However it is regarded by some as anti-Catholic.

After the Herald revealed in March that Mr Dunbar was a candidate, the Call it Out campaign against anti-Catholic bigotry in Scotland called it a “slap in the face”, while the SNP said Labour should choose a new candidate, calling the Orange Order “deeply divisive”.

A retired salesman, Mr Dunbar told the Herald at the time his religion was not relevant to his political role, and he would represent all constituents equally.

“I’m not standing for the Orange Order, I’m standing for Scottish Labour,” he said

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar later said he expected every Labour candidate to have 

hatred against anybody in our communities, I will root that out. I won't stand for it.”