Ian Austin accused of 'screaming' abuse during anti-Semitism code row

The Dudley North MP is being investigated over his behaviour during a disagreement about the party's anti-Semitism code, where he is accused of 'screaming' abuse at the party's chairman, Ian Lavery.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Austin, who is the adopted child of a Jewish refugee, admits the discussion was 'heated' but denies he screamed at anybody, calling the Labour parties anti-Semitism code of conduct a "disgrace". 

Leader of the party, Jeremy Corbyn, has repeatedly said anti-Semitism is wrong and it will not be tolerated in the party, instigating a new code of conduct drawn up earlier this month following allegations of anti-Semitism within party ranks. But Jewish leaders, and some Labour MP's, have pointed out that it does not include four working examples provided by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition. They say that Labour should adopt these examples in complete form from the IHRA.

The party has said that while the examples are not reproduced word for word, they are covered elsewhere in the new code and it has produced "robust, legally sound guidelines that a political party can apply to disciplinary cases".

According to the Observer, the Black Country MP received a letter warning him he could face disciplinary action following the incident. Speaking to the Today programme, Mr Austin said:

"I grew up listening to my dad tell me how he'd escaped from the Holocaust and how his mum and sisters were murdered in Treblinka [a Nazi death camp] and that led to me joining Labour Party as a teenager determined to fight racism.

"I'm really shocked that a party that has got a proud tradition throughout its entire existence of fighting racism has ended up causing such huge offence and distress to the Jewish community in Britain."

A Labour spokesperson, responding to the incident, said the party takes all complaints extremely seriously, adding: "These are fully investigated in line with party rules and procedures".


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