Labour drops investigation into Ian Austin over antisemitism challenge

Labour drops investigation into Ian Austin over antisemitism challenge

Party ends probe into Dudley North MP after being charged with 'abusive' behaviour when he confronted chairman Ian Lavery

Ian Austin MP
Ian Austin MP

The Labour Party has dropped its investigation into Ian Austin MP after he got “upset” at party chairman Ian Lavery in the House of Commons.

The Dudley North MP, whose adoptive parents were Czech Jewish refugees, got into a heated exchange with Lavery over the party’s stance on the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism in July.

Austin was charged with “abusive” behaviour just days after fellow Labour parliamentarian Dame Margaret Hodge swore at Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn during a tirade in which she accused him of being “an anti-Semite”. Disciplinary investigations against both MPs have now ended.

This week Austin tweeted: “I make no apologies for being upset about antisemitism, I think every Labour member ought to be angry about racism.”

He added that the party’s leadership “still haven’t responded properly to the reasonable requests made by the Jewish Leadership Council, the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Labour Movement”.

A Labour Party letter sent to Austin this summer said “any future behaviour of a similar nature… could result in further disciplinary action, including the possibility of administrative suspension while the matter is investigated”.

Board of Deputies Vice President Amanda Bowma said: “The announcement that the Labour Party has dropped its ill-judged investigation into Ian Austin MP over comments he made to party Chair Ian Lavery about its failure to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism is long overdue. Labour’s handling of Mr  Austin’s case has been appalling. The so-called ‘disciplinary process’ has become nothing more than a kangaroo court, with criteria for action that appear to repeatedly put factionalism over any recognisable form of justice. We continue to call for Labour to open up its processes to independent scrutiny”.

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