POLITICS

Minister Backtracks After Suggesting Labour MP Ivan Lewis Was Suspended For Being 'Jewish Blairite'

Greg Hands said he did not mean to cause offence.

23/11/2017 18:34 GMT | Updated 23/11/2017 19:05 GMT
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London minister Greg Hands.

Government minister Greg Hands was forced to backtrack after he claimed Labour MP Ivan Lewis had been suspended from the party because he was a ‘Jewish Blairite’.

In a tweet he quickly deleted, Hands suggested the party had taken tougher action against Lewis, who is accused of sexual harassment, than Kensington MP Emma Dent Coad for offensive comments she made online.

“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’” he wrote.

The international trade minister later said he had not intended to cause offence, after calls were made for him to apologise.

A Labour source told HuffPost UK: “Greg Hands knows nothing about either case and should be ashamed of his innuendo.”

Lewis was suspended from Labour on Thursday while sexual harassment allegations against him are investigated.

The Bury South MP, who is a former minister, was accused of touching a 19-year-old woman’s leg and inviting her back to his house at a party event in 2010, in a Buzzfeed News investigation.

A party spokeswoman said: “The Labour Party takes all allegations of sexual harassment extremely seriously. Ivan Lewis is currently suspended from the Labour Party pending an investigation.”

Dent Coad apologised earlier this month after an online blog was unearthed in which she described London Assembly Member Shaun Bailey as a “token ghetto boy” and a “scumbag”.

Calls were made for Jeremy Corbyn to remove the whip from the MP, but the Labour leader said Dent Coad had been spoken to and had “rightly apologised”.