The former head of the UK’s equalities watchdog Trevor Phillips has been suspended from the Labour Party over allegations of Islamophobia.
The 66-year-old, who has made a number of controversial comments about Muslims, faces an investigation and could be expelled from the party.
The Times reported that he is being investigated over past comments including remarks he made about Pakistani Muslim men abusing children in northern UK towns.
Labour’s general secretary Jennie Formby suspended him as a matter of urgency to “protect the party’s reputation,” according to the newspaper.
Mr Phillips was among 24 public figures who last year declared their refusal to vote for the Labour Party because of its association with antisemitism.
In a letter to the Guardian in November, the group said the path to a more tolerant society “must encompass Britain’s Jews with unwavering solidarity” and said Jeremy Corbyn has “a long record of embracing antisemites as comrades.”
Mr Phillips told The Times there was no suggestion that he has done anything unlawful and “no one inside or outside the Labour Party has ever suggested that I have broken any rules.”
Writing in an opinion piece for the paper, Mr Phillips said: “If this is how Labour treats its own family, how might it treat its real opponents if it ever gains power again?
“It would be a tragedy if, at the very moment we most need a robust and effective opposition, our nation had to endure the spectacle of a great party collapsing into a brutish, authoritarian cult.”
A Labour 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.”