|Steve Hedley (left)|
A spokesperson for the Rail, Maritime and Transport union said: "Following a meeting of the union's National Executive a decision has been made to suspend Senior Assistant General Secretary Steve Hedley with immediate effect while a formal investigation takes place into his conduct".
Prior to his suspension Hedley gave an interview to LBC Radio in which he discussed various issues with presenter Maajid Nawaz. However, when Nawaz raised the topic of Boris Johnson the interview turned sour and Hedley hung up the phone. Listen below.
An Irish republican originally from Londonderry, Hedley has history when it comes to vicious remarks towards Conservatives. In a 2016 interview, again with LBC, he stated: "I think all the Tories are an absolute disgrace, they should be taken out and shot to be quite frank with you". He wasn't suspended from the RMT then, or the Labour party. Also deemed acceptable at the time was a picture he posted to his Facebook account in which he brandishes an automatic rifle whilst on a trip to Russia.
|Steve Hedley in Russia|
The Soviet cap badge he is wearing alludes to Hedley's passion for hard left politics. A vehement supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, he is frequently pictured making raised fist salutes and has repeatedly called for the overthrow of capitalism. He supports the prosecution of British troops and politicians over Bloody Sunday and has referred to Hugo Chavez as a 'great leader'. In 2017 he tweeted an image of two Tory effigies hanging from a bridge in Manchester. Last year he posed for a picture with his daughter at the grave of Italian Marxist hero Antonio Gramsci. Another picture on his Facebook page shows him in his office surrounded by communist regalia, including a poster of Che Guevara and a bust of Lenin. It's not clear if this is the same bust that sat on the office desk of one of his other idols, former RMT general secretary the late Bob Crow.
Also unclear at this present time is whether Hedley will face any action from the Labour party over his latest outburst. He was previously suspended from the party in 2016, not for calling for the death of Tories, but for the comparatively innocuous crime of labelling Corbyn critics 'right-wing traitors'. He was readmitted to the party in March 2017, but last November he was reportedly being probed again, this time over allegations of anti-Semitism. Video footage of Hedley that emerged around that time showed him screaming abuse at a Jewish activist. The footage was originally taken at a meeting in 2011 where Hedley was giving a speech entitled 'Palestine's fight for freedom'. Hedley refers to the heckler as "a disgrace to the Jewish people" and a "modern day Nazi".
Hedley is also a staunch defender of the expelled former Labour MP Chris Williamson. He has also voiced support for Marc Wadsworth, a Labour activist expelled from the party in 2018 over an alleged altercation with Jewish Labour MP Ruth Smeeth.
|Steve Hedley (centre) pictured with Labour's John McDonnell|
|Steve Hedley (centre) pictured with Labour's Ian Lavery and Rebecca Long-Bailey|
|Steve Hedley's office door|