Government minister says Ivan Lewis was suspended by Labour because he's a 'Jewish Blairite'
A government minister has said Labour suspended an MP accused of sexual harassment because he is a "Jewish Blairite".
In a hastily deleted tweet, Greg Hands said the party was guilty of double standards over its treatment of Ivan Lewis.
He compared Mr Lewis's treatment to the way Labour handled complaints against Emma Dent Coad.
She was criticised after it emerged she had described black Tory candidate Shaun Bailey as "ghetto boy" in a blog post she wrote in 2010.
The left-wing Kensington MP apologised, and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he considered the matter closed.
In his tweet, Mr Hands said: "Tough action from Labour leadership against Jewish Blairite Ivan Lewis - but just "a chat" for hate-filled 'Ghetto Boy' rhetoric of Kensington Corbynista Emma Dent Coad."
Mr Hands' intervention was surprising because it is highly unusual for an MP, let alone a minister, to comment on disciplinary matters in another party.
He subsequently tweeted an apology for his "carelessly worded" remark.
A Labour source said: "Greg Hands knows nothing about either case and should be ashamed of his innuendo."
Labour launched an investigation into Mr Lewis’s behaviour earlier this month after BuzzFeed News reported allegations that he touched a woman's leg and invited her to his house at a Labour event in 2010, when she was 19.
Mr Lewis has previously denied making any "non-consensual sexual comments or sexual advances". However he later apologised if he had made any women he had worked with feel “awkward”.
In a statement today, a Labour spokesperson said: “The Labour party takes all allegations of sexual harassment extremely seriously.
"Ivan Lewis is currently suspended from the Labour party pending an investigation.”