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Labour suspends former EHRC head Trevor Phillips over allegations of Islamophobia

A FORMER head of the equalities watchdog accused Labour today of attempting to gag party members after he was suspended over allegations of Islamophobia.

Trevor Phillips, who chaired the Equality & Human Rights Commission from 2003 to 2012, faces an investigation and could be expelled from the party.

Labour general secretary Jennie Formby had suspended him as a matter of urgency to “protect the party’s reputation.”

Mr Phillips is being investigated over past comments, including remarks on Pakistani Muslim men sexually abusing girls in towns including Rotherham, according to The Times.

In 2017, Mr Phillips wrote in The Daily Telegraph: “What the perpetrators have in common is their proclaimed faith. 

“It is not Islamophobic to point this out, any more than it would be racist to point out that the most active persecutors of LGBT people come from countries where most people are, like me, black.”

Today Mr Phillips said that Labour had sent him an 11-page letter, telling him he was forbidden from publishing details of his suspension.

He added that there was no suggestion that he had done anything unlawful.

In the run-up to last year’s general election, he was among 24 public figures who declared their refusal to vote for Labour because of allegations of anti-semitism.

He has in the past argued against the all-party parliamentary group on British Muslims’ move to define Islamophobia – a definition adopted by Labour.

A party spokeswoman said: “The Labour Party takes all complaints about Islamophobia extremely seriously and they are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures — and any appropriate disciplinary action is taken.”

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