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John McDonnell Won’t Be Going To Scottish Labour Conference Even Though He’ll Be In Glasgow

The shadow chancellor will be in Glasgow on Saturday, but won't head along to the conference in the same city.

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Ben Pruchnie / Getty Images

John McDonnell will not attend the Scottish Labour conference in Glasgow on Saturday even though he's spending the weekend in the city, BuzzFeed News has learned.

The shadow chancellor is due to speak at a business conference in Glasgow's SECC venue on Friday afternoon, and will be in or around the city until Sunday, but will not go along to the party's conference at the Glasgow Science Centre on Saturday.

It comes after Jeremy Corbyn confirmed he will not address the Glasgow conference either, and follows a complaint to Corbyn from Labour peer Lord Foulkes that an Edinburgh rally supporting the Labour leader, where arch rivals the SNP were repeatedly praised, had "undermined" the Scottish party's campaign ahead of the Holyrood election in May.

This is the distance between the venue McDonnell will speak at on Friday and where the Scottish Labour conference is on Saturday.


It is understood that the shadow chancellor will be spending Saturday with family in Glasgow rather than attending the party conference, and, on Sunday, he will hit the campaign trail with pro-Corbyn Scottish Labour MSP Elaine Smith in Coatbridge, just to the east of the city.

The event McDonnell will appear at on Friday afternoon is the Federation of Small Businesses conference, where first minister Nicola Sturgeon and Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson will also speak.

On Sunday, the shadow chancellor will be at the Indoor Bowling Club in Coatbridge, alongside celebrated comic book writer Mark Millar, to launch Smith's drive to be re-elected as the Labour MSP for the Coatbridge and Chryston constituency.

A source close to McDonnell said there was a "long-planned event" with his family in Glasgow taking place on the same day as the conference.

Jamie Ross is a Scotland reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Edinburgh.

Contact Jamie Ross at

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