February 3, 2023

Senior Labor MP Conor McGinn has suspended the whip after a complaint was made against him under the party’s independent complaints procedure, the Guardian has been told.

The MP for St Helens North, who had previously played a key role in preparing Labor for the next general election, is now under investigation.

McGinn, 38, who also has his party membership suspended until the matter is resolved, said he was confident the complaint – the nature of which is unknown – was “entirely baseless”.

In recent weeks, the MP, considered an ally of Labor leader Keir Starmer, returned to work in Westminster after a time off due to a genetic heart condition.

In a statement, McGinn said: “The Labor Party has informed me that it is automatically obliged to apply a temporary procedural stay while a complaint is being investigated. I have not been told the details of the complaint, but I am convinced that it is completely unfounded. I strongly reject any suggestion of wrongdoing and look forward to the matter being resolved quickly.”

In his role as deputy national campaign coordinator, working alongside Labor MP Shabana Mahmood, McGinn was part of the team credited with strong local election results in May, as Labor won votes in the “red wall”, as well as the Wakefield by-election in June.

Previously, he supported the successful campaign for Helen’s bill – to push the government to introduce tougher penalties for killers who refuse to disclose the location of their victims’ remains. He also introduced the Commons amendment to extend the Equal Marriage Act to Northern Ireland.

McGinn, who came to parliament in 2015, becomes the fifth Labor MP to be investigated under the party’s new complaints procedure, which was launched earlier this year after the party was censured by the equality watchdog for anti-Semitism .

MP Neil Coyle had the whip suspended following allegations he made racist remarks to a journalist in a bar in the House of Commons in February. Nick Brown, who had been the main whip for every Labor leader from Tony Blair onwards, was stripped of the whip in September following an unspecified complaint.

The Ealing MP, Rupa Huq, had the party whip suspended for making so-called “racist” comments about former Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng at the Labor conference in September, for which she later apologised.

Christina Rees, who was Shadow Secretary of State for Wales under Jeremy Corbyn, lost the whip in October after bullying her constituency staff. All four are still under investigation and sit in the House of Commons as independents.

Sources said Labour’s chief whip, Alan Campbell, informed the party’s parliamentary committee, which represents MPs in their dealings with the leadership, of McGinn’s suspension.

Under party rules, once an MP is administratively suspended and an investigation is underway, they temporarily have the party whip suspended as an automatic precaution. The grievance process, signed off at the Party Congress last fall, covers all protected characteristics, including race, disability and sexuality, and all forms of discrimination.

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