MP at first refuses to comment but finally denies ‘all allegations of impropriety’. Starmer unreachable for comment on claims he was aware of and ignored allegations by Jewish, now-sacked staffer
Labour’s Shadow Defence Procurement Minister Khalid Mahmood has today denied allegations from a newly-sacked staff member that he was involved in bullying and antisemitic abuse against her – and that he took money from the Kuwaiti embassy and Kuwaiti businessmen and ‘stole’ money from a West Midlands voluntary organisation.
Last month, the SKWAWKBOX exclusively revealed emails that showed that Keir Starmer and his team had been aware, over a prolonged period, of suspended staffer Elaina Cohen’s complaints against Mahmood of antisemitism and bullying – which she had reported to West Midlands police – yet were accused by Ms Cohen of ‘blatant inaction’. Mahmood remains on the front bench, despite Starmer’s promise of ‘zero tolerance’ toward antisemitism.
Keir Starmer did not respond to a request for comment at the time. Khalid Mahmood replied that he could not comment because the issue was an ‘HR matter’.
But Ms Cohen today reports that she has been sacked by Mahmood, in the middle of an Acas arbitration and despite his knowing that she is in the middle of a COVID-related family health crisis – and that she therefore wants to come clean about the full allegations she is making against her now-former employer, which she said were previously under a non-discloure agreement.
Ms Cohen claims that, as well as being involved in persistent antisemitism and bullying toward her on his own and with others, Mahmood took money from the Kuwaiti embassy from Kuwaiti businessmen and ‘stole’ from a West Midlands-based voluntary organisation.
And she says that Keir Starmer was aware of all these allegations, yet took no action against Mahmood, who has remained on Labour’s front bench throughout.
The SKWAWKBOX called Mr Mahmood directly to ask for urgent comment on the serious allegations being made against him. At first – and persistently throughout most of the conversation – Mahmood echoed his December claim that it was an HR matter and was being resolved ‘in accordance to HR’ and tried to end the call. He stuck to this line despite repeated stressing of the nature of the allegations and their seriousness. The ‘HR issue’ claim was repeated even after the allegation of theft was repeated to him.
However, after being pressed several times to say explicitly whether he was denying any of the allegations that had been listed, he said:
I deny all allegations of impropriety.
The SKWAWKBOX has also tried to obtain comment from Keir Starmer, via his parliamentary and constituency offices and directly, again with emphasis on the seriousness of the allegations and the imminence of publication. No comment had been received by the time of publication.
If Elaina Cohen’s allegations are accurate Keir Starmer has ignored, over a period of months, serious allegations against a right-wing front-bencher – while left-wingers were sacked for ‘crimes’ as trivial as sharing an accurate newspaper article or voting with their conscience on a non-obligatory parliamentary vote – leaving Khalid Mahmood to remain in his Shadow team.
How long will that now be allowed to continue?
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