Exclusive: Investigation into MP Neil Coyle expected to conclude next month

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Westminster has been awash with gossip about what’s next for the Bermondsey and Old Southwark seat

A long-running Labour Party investigation into allegations that Neil Coyle made racist remarks to a British reporter of Chinese descent is expected to be concluded next month.

When the News approached the MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark for an update on the investigation, he said: “I am expecting this to be resolved very soon and I hope for good news in November.”

The Labour Party has refused to comment on a possible timescale, repeating its line that it “does not provide a running commentary on disciplinary matters.”

If Labour does decide whether to restore the whip to Coyle next month, it would bring an end to a nine-month saga that began in February.

According to journalist Henry Dyer, Neil Coyle said that fellow Labour MP Barry Gardiner, who reportedly received money from a suspected Chinese spy, had been “paid by Fu Manchu” in a Commons bar on Tuesday, February 1.

In the personal account for Business Insider, Dyer said “there was no need to refer to a 20th Century trope of a Chinese supervillain”.

Since then, it has been radio silence from Labour, who are often reluctant to share the details of their disciplinary processes.

Coyle has since apologised for remarks he made. Opening up about his alcohol problem, he told the News his drinking “undoubtedly affected my demeanour and attitude and contributed to my own suspension from the Labour Party earlier this year”.

 

He said he had stopped drinking and thanked the “strong network of professionals and friends who have been crucial”.

Last month, Labour was rocked when its MP Rupa Huq said Kwasi Kwarteng was “superficially” black at the party conference. Some feared that this could spell trouble for Coyle.

It has been suggested that Labour’s top brass felt they could not retain Coyle while sacking Huq, even if that may be their preference.

The Westminster rumour mill also spat out a curveball last week, with one source telling the News that Sam Tarry would be parachuted in to replace Coyle.

The Ilford South MP had the whip removed when he appeared on a rail strike picket at Euston Railway Station, taking interviews with the press.

In October, Tarry lost a vote to see who would represent the Labour seat, to council leader Jas Athwal.

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