Paul Farrelly denies fracas claims amid Labour probe

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Paul FarrellyImage copyright Labour Party
Image caption Paul Farrelly allegedly “squared up” to Labour’s James Frith

An MP has denied claims made in a newspaper he had “squared up” to a colleague in a House of Commons fracas.

The Mail on Sunday reported Paul Farrelly, the MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, “launched a foul-mouthed tirade” at fellow Labour MP James Frith.

Labour said it would be launching an investigation after it received “a number of complaints.”

Mr Farrelly confirmed he had “brief, cross words” with two Labour MPs.

The newspaper claims the incident happened in the voting lobby of the House of Commons after a late-night Brexit debate on Tuesday.

It alleged it Mr Farrelly also confronted two other colleagues, Stoke-on-Trent North’s Ruth Smeeth and Stoke-on-Trent Central’s Gareth Snell.

They both declined to comment. Mr Frith said it would not be “appropriate” to comment.

Image copyright PA/BBC
Image caption Gareth Snell and Ruth Smeeth are MPs in neighbouring constituencies to Paul Farrelly

Mr Farrelly said the Mail on Sunday’s story “seems to boil down to something about queue-pushing in Commons vote last week, and I have no idea what that’s about”.

He said it was “the right thing to do” is to speak to Labour’s Chief Whip about the alleged complaint.

‘Open secret’

Responding to allegations he launched a four-letter outburst at Mr Frith, he said: “That’s not something I would say. That’s absolute nonsense.”

He also said he does not “get on” with Ms Smeeth and Mr Snell, whose constituencies border his.

Image copyright UK Parliament
Image caption The Mail on Sunday said James Frith was on the receiving end of Paul Farrelly’s “outburst”

“In the corridors of the House of Commons, I had brief, cross words with my Labour next door neighbours Ruth Smeeth and Gareth Snell about their… ‘name the Brexit date’ amendments”.

“The fact we don’t get on is an open secret,” he said.

The Labour spokeswoman said: “A number of complaints have been made to the chief whip with regard to the behaviour of a Labour MP.

“These are being investigated in line with the standing orders of the Parliamentary Labour Party.

“It would therefore be inappropriate to comment further on this matter.”

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