Henry Dyer says Speaker and parliamentary authorities took action in response to his complaint about anti-Asian comments by Bermondsey and Old Southwark MP
In the last half hour or so, Business Insider politics reporter Henry Dyer has published a statement alleging that he suffered Sinophobic abuse from right-wing Labour MP Neil Coyle in the ‘Strangers’ bar of the House of Commons – and that Coyle’s suspension from Commons bars was imposed as a result of his complaint to the Speaker.
Earlier reports had indicated Coyle had been suspended as a result of a ‘foul-mouthed rant’ at an unnamed Labour staffer, but Dyer says the Speaker and parliamentary authorities imposed the ban pending investigation of the allegations by the Labour whips.
In spite of the seriousness of the allegations, Keir Starmer has not withdrawn the whip from Coyle until the investigation is completed.
Dyer alleges that Coyle:
- used a generic stereotype name ‘Fu Manchu’ when referring to an alleged Chinese agent who was recently reported as having access to the parliamentary estate and whose son worked for Labour MP Barry Gardiner
- told Dyer he could tell Dyer was British-Chinese because “you look like you’ve been giving renminbi [the Chinese currency] to Barry Gardiner”
- suggested Dyer was being ‘over-sensitive’ when he took exception to the ‘Fu Manchu’ comment
- when Dyer later tried to defuse tension by waving goodbye, stuck two fingers up at the departing journalist
- made him feel uncomfortable again twice on the following day
Dyer goes on:
On Thursday morning, I informed the Speaker of the House of Commons what had happened. The Speaker and his staff took immediate action, in conjunction with the Serjeant at Arms and the House of Lords’ authorities, to suspend Coyle from the bars on the Parliamentary estate pending an investigation by the Labour Whips office into the incidents on Monday and Tuesday evening.
Neil Coyle has a problematic history as a Labour MP. In 2017 he was investigated by the party over bullying accusations and in the same year was slammed by a neighbouring MP and local members for his attitude and comments when they had campaigned for him in that year’s general election. The general media expectation had been that his seat was under threat, but in the ‘Corbyn surge’ he received an increased majority but showed no signs of gratitude to his party leader.
In 2018, he was seen on the Commons terrace in the company of another right-wing MP and Ian McKenzie, a Labour First activist who had been suspended by the party after tweeting about the rape and beheading of then-Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry.
In 2019, he agitated for a second EU referendum – a demand promoted by Keir Starmer with disastrous consequences in the 2019 general election.
In 2020 he called for fellow MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle to be kicked out of the party – for being too critical of the Tories – and in the same year was revealed to have sent abusive text messages to former party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
And last summer, Coyle called for the expulsion of all members of Jewish Voice for Labour, the party’s main grouping of left-wing Jews, leading to complaints of antisemitism to Keir Starmer personally by three leading Jewish members – two lawyers and a professor.
Keir Starmer ignored those complaints, as Skwawkbox exclusively revealed -and has failed to sideline Coyle by withdrawing the Labour whip until Henry Dyer’s allegations have been investigated. Can he continue to ignore the accusations against Coyle now that these latest allegations of racism are in the public domain?
Neil Coyle has been contacted for comment.
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