Content warning: References to racist comments.
Labour MP Neil Coyle has had the party whip suspended after he reportedly made numerous racist remarks to journalist Henry Dyer, while drinking in a house of commons bar.
Henry Dyer, who is of a British-Chinese descent and works for the publication, Insider, issued a statement in which he recounts Coyle’s behaviour. Coyle allegedly said that fellow Labour MP Barry Gardiner had been receiving funds from “Fu Manchu”, a villain from various 20th-century films portraying a racist caricature of a Chinese person.
When Dyer pushed back against the comments, saying that he was British-Chinese, Coyle reportedly responded:
“[That he could tell] from how you look like you’ve been giving renminbi [the Chinese currency] to Barry Gardiner.”
Later on that evening, Dyer waved to Coyle as he left the bar, in an attempt to defuse tension, to which Coyle raised two fingers in response.
Dyer later reported the behaviour to the Speaker of the House of Commons, who, in conjunction with the Serjeant of the Commons, banned Coyle from all the bars on the parliamentary estate for the next sixth months.
Soon after, Labour removed the whip from Coyle pending an investigation.
The night before the alleged comments, Coyle reportedly shouted “f*** you” at a Labour Party aide in an argument over Brexit. When a Tory MP attempted to intervene, apparently Coyle responded with “F*** off and lose some weight.”
“I’m very sorry for my insensitive comments, have apologised to everyone involved and will be cooperating fully with the investigation.”
Henry Dyer said that he hoped some good could come of the situation, stating:
“I hope this raises awareness of the issues of anti-Asian racism and of inappropriate conduct, especially where alcohol is involved.”