Party press office not answering phones as awareness of right-winger’s suspension after racism allegations percolates
Labour’s press office has battened down the hatches and is ignoring its phones after news broke that the party whip has been withdrawn from right-wing MP Neil Coyle following racism complaints by a British-Chinese journalist.
Skwawkbox has tried all day to obtain confirmation whether the MP has been suspended from party membership as well, or merely had the parliamentary whip withdrawn – and why it took Keir Starmer so long to act – but after five hours of attempts not a single call has been answered.
A Labour source told Skwawkbox that the press team was ‘in hiding’ as the matter is too embarrassing for Keir Starmer and the party is desperate to avoid questions about why Starmer waited ten days from the events to take action – and only then after the alleged victim, a political journalist, published an article about it last night. Starmer has also been ignoring antisemitism complaints against Coyle by leading Jewish members of the party since July last year.
Labour’s rules ban members from conduct that could ‘reasonably be seen’ to compromise the party’s reputation or ability to fight racism. If course, historically the ‘reasonably’ has been extensively abused against the left and almost entirely ignored in the case of right-wingers – including antisemitic statements by Labour and even front bench MPs. Coyle will presumably now remain outside the Labour whip until it completes whatever investigation it intends into the alleged Sinophobia, but on previous form it is unlikely the antisemitism complaints will be included.
In December 2020, Keir Starmer was also accused of ignoring a Labour parliamentary staff whistleblower’s complaints of antisemitism against another right-wing then-front bencher. At no point was the whip withdrawn from the MP in question, despite the seriousness of that and other allegations against him, nor does any investigation appear to have been mounted.
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