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Labour Suspends MP Neil Coyle Over Racism Allegation

2 min read

Labour has suspended MP Neil Coyle after he was accused of racism by a Westminster journalist.

A spokesperson for the party said on Friday: "The Labour Party expects the highest standards of behaviour from all our MPs and we take allegations of this sort very seriously. Accordingly the Chief Whip has now suspended the Labour whip from Neil Coyle pending an investigation".

Insider's Henry Dyer, a British-Chinese political journalist, on Thursday said Coyle made racist comments towards him while they were both in a parliamentary bar earlier this month.

According to Dyer, while discussing Barry Gardiner, the Labour MP who it emerged recently had received funding from a suspected Chinese spy, Coyle said Gardiner had been funded by "Fu Manchu" — a fictional Chinese supervillain.

Dyer said he told Coyle he is British-Chinese, to which the MP replied he could tell "from how you look like you've been giving renminbi [the Chinese currency] to Barry Gardiner".

Coyle was immediately suspended from the parliamentary bars by House of Commons Speaker Lindsday Hoyle and other parliamentary authorities after Dyer told them about the incident.

Dyer added that while leaving the bar – which is known to those who work in Westminster as The Strangers Bar – Coyle responded to his wave by "putting two fingers up at me".

"I told friends that evening that someone had made Sinophobic remarks to me. But it was not until the following day that I fully realised his remarks were not just inappropriate but made me feel uncomfortable," Dyer wrote for his publication.

In a statement, Coyle said: "I’m very sorry for my insensitive comments, have apologised to everyone involved and will be cooperating fully with the investigation".

Dyer later tweeted that Coyle, who has been the MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark since 2015, contacted him to apologise.

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