Right-wing Labour MP’s ‘Fu Manchu’ and Chinese spy abuse to British-Chinese journalist punished by Parliament – so will Starmer deselect? Don’t hold your breath
Right-wing Labour MP Neil Coyle has been suspended from the House of Commons for using racially-charged language in a drunken verbal assault on journalist Henry Dyer.
As Skwawkbox reported just over a year ago, 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
The suspension also relates to a second drunken incident in a Commons bar.
Keir Starmer eventually withdrew the whip from Coyle last year, but waited days after the allegations became public before taking action. Skwawkbox understands that Coyle has been lobbying – some sources say begging – Starmer to restore the whip so he can stand in the next general election as a Labour candidate. Unlike Corbyn, who will see thousands travel to north London to campaign for him, Coyle would surely stand a below-zero chance of achieving re-election without a Labour rosette.
Coyle’s fate would seem to depend on whether Starmer thinks he can get away with quite such a blatant double standard when Jeremy Corbyn has been told he will not stand for Labour, in Corbyn’s case over trumped-up outrage about comments the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said he has a legally-protected right to make.
The odds are probably about even. Starmer has already ignored complaints made by three leading Labour-supporting Jewish figures including a professor and a knighted barrister about Coyle’s antisemitic comments. Coyle has also been the subject of complaints by local members and a neighbouring MP about his conduct and bullying complaints by party staff. He then sent a string of seemingly drunken text messages to Corbyn when the Islington North MP was party leader.
In addition, Coyle triggered outrage when he and another right-wing MP were seen drinking on the Commons terrace with right-wing organiser Ian McKenzie, after McKenzie was suspended for tweets about the rape and beheading of front-bencher Emily Thornberry.
That his chances of standing as a Labour candidate remain better than those of the former party leader speaks volumes about what Labour has become under the Starmer regime.
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