Reports that Bermondsey and Old Southwark’s Neil Coyle could face disciplinary action from the Labour Party leadership are “blown out of proportion”, the MP has said.
Neil has said he doesn’t feel anything will come of a formal complaint made by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s office manager, Karie Murphy.
According to a leaked email, Murphy had complained of “unjustified attacks” by Neil against Corbyn, such as asking why Labour MPs had not been given a Brexit briefing on the day Article 50 was triggered, and why the party’s media team was allegedly failing to provide quick responses to journalists.
It had been reported by a national paper on Saturday that Neil could face losing the party whip – the highest punishment taken against MPs.
Speaking to the News before Tuesday’s general election announcement, said: “It wasn’t criticism as much as questions that I asked about the party’s communications.
“My email made two points [about responding to the press and briefing MPs]. Those were my concerns. My questions were about those problems and how will it be addressed?
“That turned into a formal complaint to the chief whip from Jeremy’s staff.”
Neil added that he believed the formal complaint against him was part of wider attempt to “silence” MPs who spoke out against Corbyn’s performance as Labour leader.
“It comes off the back of other attempts to quieten other MPs down,” he said.
“There was recently one PLP meeting where one of Jeremy’s staff had a go at me for asking a question.
“They build people up as scapegoats. Their infighting goes over trying to address policy issues, like what’s going on with Brexit, or low conviction rates with the police.”
A spokeswoman for Jeremy Corbyn said they did not wish to comment.
Neil added: “They are trying to shut anyone down who suggests we couldn’t be doing better than a 20 per cent deficit in the polls. Or anyone who suggests that the sun doesn’t shine out of certain area of Jeremy’s anatomy.
“The idea of me losing the party whip is 100 per cent unrealistic. The only MP that has happened to [since 2015] was MP Simon Danczuk, and that’s because he was in trouble with the police.
“I’ve asked Nick Brown [Labour chief whip] for clarification and I’m hoping to see him today or tomorrow. But he hasn’t been in touch. I think that’s an indication it’s been blown out of proportion.”