A British official says a U.K. diplomat has been suspended following his arrest for an alleged anti-Semitic rant in a London gym.
Foreign Office Minister Gillian Merron told members of Parliament on Friday that Rowan Laxton, 47, had been suspended from his job at the Foreign Office and will face disciplinary proceedings.
He was arrested last month on suspicion of threatening to stir up religious hatred, but has not been charged.
He allegedly used foul language and criticized Israel's conduct during the conflict in Gaza and allegedly made an offensive comment about Judaism. Merron says the police investigation continues.
Witnesses had told the British newspaper The Daily Mail that they heard Laxton shouting "f**king Israelis, f**king Jews," while watching a TV report of Israel Defense Forces operations in Gaza from the seat of an exercise bike.
He also reportedly shouted that IDF soldiers should be "wiped off the face of the Earth."
The Daily Mail said Laxton continued the tirade even after he was approached by other gym users.
A complaint was later filed to police and Laxton was arrested and charged with inciting religious hatred, which carries a maximum seven-year prison term. He was released on bail.
Laxton is in charge of the South Asia Group at the Foreign office, where he is in charge of United Kingdom diplomacy for the region, according to the Daily Mail. His boss, Foreign Secretary David Miliband, is Jewish.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now