Labour hit by fresh legal row over disciplinary action against Ian Austin
Labour has been plunged into a fresh row after lawyers for one of their MPs hit out at a disciplinary probe launched into his behaviour.
Ian Austin is accused of “berating” Jeremy Corbyn and Labour chairman Ian Lavery over the party’s failure to tackle anti-Semitism.
The Dudley MP was informed last month by Labour general secretary Jennie Formby that an investigation had been launched into the allegations.
Mr Austin has now published the letter he received from Ms Formby, along with the response sent by his lawyers, Hamlins.
They say: “This process has been a farce and a disgrace.
“It has plainly been designed to silence our client for his legitimate, honestly-held criticisms of Mr Corbyn’s failure to address the scourge of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party."
The lawyers add that the party has “failed to observe the most rudimentary principles of natural justice, due process and transparency" and accuse Labour chiefs of “prejudging the complaints” against their client.
The row has erupted just a day after Labour dropped a similar probe into Margaret Hodge. She was investigated after telling Mr Corbyn to his face that he was “an anti-Semitic racist”.
Labour sources said they had decided to abandon the disciplinary process because Mrs Hodge had “expressed regret” in a meeting with opposition chief whip Nick Brown.
But that has been denied by the veteran MPs, whose lawyers accused the party of being “disingenuous”.