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Mon, 6 April 2020

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Anti-racism campaigner Trevor Phillips suspended by Labour over alleged Islamophobia

Anti-racism campaigner Trevor Phillips suspended by Labour over alleged Islamophobia
2 min read

A leading anti-racism campaigner has been suspended by the Labour Party for alleged Islamophobia.

Trevor Phillips said he had been left shocked when he was sent an 11-page letter by the party informing him of the disciplinary action.

Given his previous criticism of Labour's failure to tackle anti-semitism in its ranks, he said his suspension showed that the party was "collapsing into a brutish, authoritarian cult".

It is understood the allegations relate to public statements, including comments he has made in the past about Pakistani Muslim men sexually abusing children in northern towns such as Rotherham.

According to The Times, the charge also includes remarks Mr Phillips - who founded the Equality and Human Rights Commission - has made about some Muslims not wearing poppies for Remembrance Sunday, and the sympathy expressed by some for the Charlie Hebdo killers.

Writing in the paper, Mr Phillips suggests that the EHRC's investigation into alleged anti-semitism within the Labour Party could be behind his suspension.

He said: "Some will see it as payback by Corbynistas for public criticisms I made of the leadership’s failure to tackle anti-semitism in the party.

"Another possibility is that it’s an attempt to scare the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which I used to lead and which is investigating Labour’s handling of anti-semitism. Weaponising Islamophobia to attack political opponents may seem like clever tactics but trying to intimidate a legally independent organisation is pure political gangsterism."

Mr Phillips added: "I accept that I may not share all the views of Labour’s current leader or even of the majority of members. But I have never belonged to any other party and I have stuck by it through thick and thin. I

"If this is how Labour treats its own family, how might it treat its real opponents if it ever gains power again? It would be a tragedy if, at the very moment we most need a robust and effective opposition, our nation had to endure the spectacle of a great party collapsing into a brutish, authoritarian cult."

Labour said the party "takes all complaints about Islamophobia extremely seriously and they are fully investigated".

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