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07 September 2023

Probe into former Labour chief whip Nick Brown still going on after a year

07 September 2023

A former Labour chief whip remains under investigation a year after he was suspended from the party after an undisclosed complaint was made against him.

It was announced on September 7 last year that Nick Brown, the MP for Newcastle upon Tyne East, had been suspended from the party and the whip removed.

A spokesman for Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the independent investigation into Mr Brown, who previously served as government chief whip during the premierships of Sir Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, was still going on.

We have a thorough, robust, independent process and they should be allowed to get on with their work

The spokesman, asked by reporters on Wednesday why the probe had taken 12 months, said: “We do not comment on disciplinary processes specifically.

“I would just make the general comment that there can always be a number of reasons why these cases take a long time.

“But we have a thorough, robust, independent process and they should be allowed to get on with their work.”

He said it was “right” that the investigation was being “conducted separately from politicians” but would not comment on whether Sir Keir thought the case was taking too long to resolve.

The nature of the complaint against Mr Brown has not been disclosed.

Mr Brown, who was first elected to the Commons in 1983, is not sitting as a Labour MP following the removal of the whip but is still able to represent his constituents in Parliament on an independent basis.

The 73-year-old was made Opposition chief whip in 2016 by then-party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

He retained the role when Sir Keir succeeded Mr Corbyn in 2020 but was moved aside a year later.

In September 2022, Mr Brown was administratively suspended from membership of the Labour Party after an investigation started.

The move led to the automatic precautionary suspension of the whip.

In a statement issued to the PA news agency at the time, Mr Brown said he was not aware what the complaint referred to, but that he was “co-operating” with the investigation.

“There has been a complaint made about me to the Labour Party which is under investigation,” he said in the statement.

“I am therefore under an administrative suspension from the Labour Party until the investigation is concluded.

“I’m not aware of what the complaint is. I am co-operating fully with the investigation.”

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