Excl: Austin case not ‘dropped’ by Labour as MSM claim. Formal reprimand and warning issued

Ian Austin, the right-wing Labour MP for Dudley, put out tweets on Tuesday afternoon that the Labour Party was closing an investigation into complaints against him for his behaviour – reportedly toward fellow MPs Chris Williamson and party chair Ian Lavery – and that ‘no further action would be taken’:

austin investig.png

Austin combined his announcement with criticisms of the Labour Party and claimed the party should not be investigating ‘people like me‘.

He pushed so far as to claim that:

it is shocking that you have to get a leading lawyer to force the Labour Party to come to its senses

This statement was picked up by numerous mainstream publications, who trumpeted that Labour had ‘dropped’ its investigation into complaints against him:

msm austin drop.png

This claim, despite being made by a huge array of ‘MSM’ outlets, is not true.

Warning – and reprimand

Rather than being dropped, the case against Austin was concluded – after the MP was issued with a formal warning and reprimand by Labour chief whip Nick Brown.

The letter – dated 26 July – from Brown to Austin is unequivocal:

I am writing formally to warn you against any repeat of such behaviour in the future and reprimand you for these incidents. I will be issuing formal warnings to other colleagues for other incidents of unparliamentary behaviour.

Only on that basis does Brown state that the matter should be considered closed:

I intend to write to the General Secretary saying I have issued this reprimand for your conduct and warned you against any repeat of it…

It is my view that this should be sufficient and an end to the matter.

This letter represents a concluded case, not a dropped one.

The SKWAWKBOX contacted Ian Austin for comment on the matter:

Ian, your tweet this afternoon states that you have “finally been told they have closed the investigation and that no further action will be taken.”

You’ve neglected to mention that you were sent a letter by the whips reprimanding you for your behaviour and warning you about future conduct and that this is the reason no further action is taking place.

In view of the circumstances and the misleading impression rapidly gaining traction, I will be publishing on this very shortly. I know from past experience that you check your emails frequently even on an evening, so please provide a response no later than 10pm this evening if you wish to have any comments included at publication.

Austin’s response was interesting and not only because he stated he had not ‘accepted’ any reprimand – which was not what was asked:

I have not accepted any reprimand, I told them I did not shout aggressively and it is not possible to accept a reprimand for something I did not do in the first place. As my statement says, the way this whole issue has been handled is unacceptable and the time it has taken is appalling. The stories you wrote on your ridiculous blog before were not true and I am sure the one you write this time will not be true either.

Please print this in full.

Curious timing

Among the various claims, congratulations and sympathy tweeted to Austin after reports that the action had been ‘dropped’, a common thread was a lament about the excessive time taken to reach that point. Labour deputy leader Tom Watson even tweeted an apology to Austin, saying the ‘right decision’ had been reached:

watson austin drop.png

But Nick Brown’s reprimand letter describing ‘an end to the matter’ was sent 26 July, only ten days or so after the events that led to the complaints.

During a follow-up call, the SKWAWKBOX asked Austin why, when Nick Brown’s letter was so dated, he had only now tweeted that ‘no further action’ was being taken.

Austin’s initial response was that he had received a letter last week from Labour general secretary Jennie Formby advising him that the investigation was ‘resolved’.

When reminded that Nick Brown’s letter had already said as much, Austin stated that he had also received a letter from Formby advising him the matter was being investigated – and was emphatic that Formby’s letter to that effect was in July.

As there were only five days left in July – two of them a weekend – when Nick Brown’s letter was sent,  Austin was asked whether Formby’s letter about an investigation was sent before or after Brown’s letter described ‘an end to the matter’.

If it was sent before Brown’s, then Brown’s letter could reasonably be read as superseding Formby’s.

This question was pressed hard three times during the telephone call, but received insults and a threat of legal action in response rather than a substantive reply. Austin then terminated the call.

The Hodge case

In August, Austin’s colleague Margaret Hodge also claimed that the case against her for abusive language toward Jeremy Corbyn had been dropped by the party without any expression of regret on her part.

Labour Party documents exclusively revealed by the SKWAWKBOX stated that Ms Hodge had expressed regret – and had received a formal reprimand, as well as a reminder about the party’s expectations regarding the behaviour of its elected officials. Mainstream media also reported widely – and inaccurately – in that case that the case had simply been dropped.

SKWAWKBOX comment:

There was understandable consternation among many on the Labour left when the claims that the case against Ian Austin has just been ‘dropped’. That consternation was misplaced, because the claims were not true.

Instead, according to Nick Brown’s letter, the case was concluded by the formal reprimand and warning issued to Austin at the end of July.

If Ian Austin received a letter from Jennie Formby, after Brown’s letter, informing him that the case was still open, he failed to confirm this during a substantial telephone conversation on Tuesday evening, in spite of three clear attempts to press him for a response.


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  1. Saw his face on BBC news today but the sound was off – on line they’ve got this:

    It’s headlined,
    “No action against Labour MP over anti-Semitism policy row”

    BBC seem to have discovered a whole new way to tell lies – massive lie for a headline followed by fifteen paragraphs of exculpatory bullshit, with one actual fact contradicting the headline – “Labour sources said he was reprimanded and warned about his future conduct” repeated twice in the body of the text.

  2. Presumably he never shouted “sit down and shut up” to his leader in the House of Commons as he delivered his speech on the Chilcot report.

  3. So if the matter was actually concluded back in July, then Austin (and any fellow conspirators) have in effect besmirched the LP twice in one fell swoop. The very fact that he makes so much of the time taken to “drop the case” in his statement is no doubt precisely because it IS fabrication as such, along with the lie that the case had been dropped. And they know of course – ie the Austins and the Hodges et al – that they can lie and distort reality for their own ends and that the MSM will faithfully relay the fake version to their readers and viewers.

    And it’s easy-peasy when you’re devious and duplicitous and decietful!

    If this IS in fact a double falsehood – and even if it’s just the one that we’re aware of – surely this merits further disciplinary action by the NEC for falsely smearing the LP/NEC and those who complained about his behaviour.

  4. In the BBC article it says the following:

    “I make no apologies for being upset about anti-Semitism,” he said. “I think every Labour Party member ought to be angry about racism and the failure to deal with it properly.

    I have lost count of the number of times I have come across people saying this – ie the failure to deal with anti-semitism properly, or words to that effect -, and yet not ONCE have I ever come across anyone who’s said such a thing offering advice or suggestions on how to accomplish this. The only thing that sometimes gets mentioned – as Austin does – is that the LP should deal with alleged cases of anti-semitism more quickly, as if to say that THAT would lead to stopping it. I mean even if the claims of anti-semitism were legitimate, which the vast majority of them are NOT – there would be nothing the leadership could do to stop them happening, as Austin and Co know of course, short of condemning it, which JC has done on numerous occasions.

    It would be very interesting if skwawkbox could contact the obvious people and ask them what advice they would give JC to bring it to an end, including Owen Smith and the Jewish Chronicle – ie ask them how THEY would set about deterring people from making anti-semitic comments. In other words, what would THEY do that JC hasn’t been doing already, and what it is he HASN’T done that has led to “the failure to deal with it properly”.

    In the BBC article it also quotes Austin as saying the following:

    “The Labour Party’s priority ought to be doing everything it can to win back the trust of the Jewish community, not investigating people like me for complaining about their failure to tackle anti-Semitism properly,” he said.

    Given that he was being investigated for his conduct, it is of course an additional lie/fabrication for Austin to maintain and claim that he was being investigated “for complaining about their failure to tackle anti-semitism properly”.

    The absurd thing is that the very next thing it says in the BBC article is the following:

    A Labour spokesman said all allegations of abusive behaviour were taken seriously and “fully investigated in line with party rules and procedures”.

    Party sources said Mr Austin had been given a formal reprimand by the chief whip Nick Brown who “made clear to him that shouting aggressively is not acceptable behaviour by a Labour MP”.


    The point being that if the writer of the article KNEW that Austin had been reprimanded for shouting aggressively prior to writing the article – which obviously they did – then why on Earth would you include all the false statements Austin made in relation to the case (that paint a completely different picture), when you KNOW that he IS lying about it – ie that it is all lies and fabrication concocted AND designed to paint a completely different pictue!

    1. Needless to say, the Jewish Chronical conjured up a total distortion of the story, and their article finishes as follows:

      Labour Friends of Israel director Jennifer Gerber said: “Ian Austin should never have been subjected to this spurious investigation in the first place.

      “It’s a sad reflection on Labour’s warped priorities that those who abuse Jews seem to get off scot free while those who fight antisemitism are investigated.”

      Would be good if Skwawkbox could contact her and ask her for some examples of people who have abused Jews and got off scot free.

      And thinking about it – which I just did – it occurs to me that in not one of the cases of alleged anti-semitism that I can think of has anyone actually directly abused a Jewish person face to face. Anyway, please pledge a few quid to help Stan Keable fight his case if you can:


  5. Just HOW the effing F was watson elected as deputy leader F absolute FS? The idiot is a total cretin.

    I have seen more brains in a cheap sausage.

    1. I perfectly understand your sentiments Toffee, but we shouldn’t for one moment underestimate Watson. He is a very devious and duplicitous and calculating character, and I have little doubt that his tweet, or whatever it was, apologising on behalf of the LP for the investigation (supposedly!) taking so long AND backing up and, as such, reinforcing the falsified version of events as set out in Ian Austins twitter statement, was all planned in advance and co-ordinated with Austin himself, and whatever other nasty little evil lowlifes were a party to it.

      1. Or was he, Watson, apologising to Austin for the LP taking so long to deal with his case?!

  6. ‘He is a very devious and duplicitous and calculating character,’

    …And his tactics are all too easy to suss out. He is a ‘Made in Taiwan’ Machiavelli

  7. The lies.. Labour party should put out a statement with the truth, the letter from the Whip, and media should have to report it. Sick of the lies.

  8. And, he was aggressive and abusive to fellow MPs include party chairman, that was the complaint. Not about raising antisemitism concerns . Fuck this game playing.

  9. All power to all, I mean all, of the above comments. I daren’t mention the recent Guardian “opinion” article by Rachel Shabi: “How David Icke helped unite Labour’s factions…”

    It was deeply disturbing, for me at least, to see Momentum referenced as being “united” with, JLM, Socialists Against Anti Semitism and Labour First … (albeit picketing David Icke seems to me to be of monumental irrelevance to just about anything I can currently think of).

  10. Yes, for those of us who know what’s going on, but most people don’t of course, so when he tweets “I’m very sorry it took so long to conclude but this is the right decision”, he does so knowing that it will be picked up and used by the anti-Corbyyn media AND that it serves to reinforce the false version that Austin has dissembled in his twitter statement and, as I said before, I have little doubt that it was pre-planned that he would do so.

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