A Labour MP has had the whip suspended following allegations he made racist comments to a journalist on the parliamentary estate, a party spokesman has confirmed.
“The Labour Party expects the highest standards of behaviour from all our MPs and we take allegations of this sort very seriously,” the party spokesman said.
“Accordingly, the chief whip has now suspended the Labour whip from Neil Coyle pending an investigation.”
Mr Coyle, who has served as the MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark since 2015, has apologised for his “insensitive” remarks.
“I’m very sorry for my insensitive comments, [I] have apologised to everyone involved and will be cooperating fully with the investigation,” he said in a statement.
On Thursday evening, a journalist working on the parliamentary estate wrote about an encounter with Mr Coyle at Strangers’ Bar on 1 February.
The journalist, who is British-Chinese, accused Mr Coyle of using offensive language in a conversation with him and said it caused him to feel “uncomfortable in my place of work”.
He accused the MP of making Sinophobic remarks.
The alleged comments were reported to the Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle, who the journalist said took “immediate action” with his staff and suspended Mr Coyle from the bars on the estate pending an investigation.
It is understood that after the Commons Speaker became aware of the allegations, he convened a meeting with the Serjeant at Arms who ordered that Mr Coyle should be suspended from bars in the Commons for six months.
Authorities in the House of Lords are believed to have taken similar action.