Labour MPs accused of antisemitic and homophobic remarks on ‘raucous’ late-night coach trip
A senior Labour politician is accused of changing the lyrics of the Beatles song “Hey Jude” to “Hey Jews” while his MP colleague repeatedly used the slur “poof” during a late-night coach journey last year.
Daniel Carden, Labour’s shadow international development secretary, is accused by BuzzFeed News of singing an adapted version of the song on a trip from Cheltenham festival to London.
Conor McGinn, a former Labour whip standing for re-election as MP for St Helens North, is alleged to have repeatedly called the male colleague sitting next to him a “poof” throughout the journey.
The colleague is said to have fallen asleep while on the coach and slumped onto McGinn several times. When this happened McGinn loudly called him a “poof” and told him to get off.
The remarks were overheard by a reporter who joined Carden and McGinn on the trip.
A spokesperson for McGinn did not deny that he used the slur, but defended his record on LGBT+ issues.
“Conor’s record as a staunch supporter of the LGBT community speaks for itself. As an MP he led the campaign which delivered a monumental and historic change in the law to finally extend equal marriage to the whole of the UK.”
McGinn was the winner of PinkNews Politician of the Year in 2018 for his work bringing equal marriage to Northern Ireland.
In contrast Carden has strongly denied all allegations against him, tweeting: “This was a coach full of journalists and MPs. If anyone genuinely believed any antisemitic behaviour had taken place, they would’ve had a moral responsibility to report it immediately.
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“Yet this allegation is only made now when a general election is imminent. I stand by my record as an antiracist campaigner. I would never be part of any behaviour that undermines my commitment to fighting racism in all its forms.”
… to report it immediately. Yet this allegation is only made now when a General Election is imminent.
I stand by my record as an anti racist campaigner. I would never be part of any behaviour that undermines my commitment to fighting racism in all its forms. (2/2)
— Dan Carden (@DanCardenMP) November 9, 2019
Carden’s spokesperson added: “Daniel Carden has been a committed campaigner in support of LGBT rights and against all forms of racism and hatred, his entire political life. As a homosexual man he would never intentionally engage in homophobic, racist or anti-Semitic behaviour.
“Had there been genuine concerns as to Daniel’s behaviour then those concerns should have been raised at the time rather than some 20 months later on the eve of a general election.”
Buzzfeed explained that the decision to publish the allegations at this time was made in light of fresh anti-Semitism allegations against Labour, alongside McGinn’s recent announcement that he would be running for deputy leader of the party.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is said to be investigating the claims. He told The Guardian: “If it’s true it is utterly and totally unacceptable. I’m looking into it.”