Jeremy Corbyn has forced one of his senior ministers to resign after she claimed that some Pakistani men groom and rape young white girls, it has emerged.
Sarah Champion, the Labour MP for Rotherham and former shadow secretary of state for women and equalities, was asked to resign after writing an article in The Sun newspaper warning that more must be done to stop gangs of Pakistani men targeting young girls for sex.
Issuing a desperate plea she called on the Government to investigate why so many men who share the same cultural background are behind bars for abusing young girls.
But following the Labour leader's demand Ms Champion stepped down from Mr Corbyn's top team.
A source close to Mr Corbyn confirmed he requested she leave his top team, adding that it was not appropriate for Ms Champion to have suggested that Pakistani men are largely responsible for the grooming and rape of young white girls.
Ms Champion apologised for her "extremely poor choice of words" and said she was concerned that continuing in her shadow cabinet role would distract from the "crucial issues" around child protection.
But a source close to the MP said her words had been stripped of "nuance" in the article.
Writing in The Sun she said that Britain has a "problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls".
However critics have warned the Labour MP was hounded out of her position and punished for telling the truth about the issue, which has been the subject of a number of Government reviews and high-profile TV dramas.
It came after fellow Labour MP Naz Shah wrote an open letter to the editor of The Sun, crticising numerous articles which she claimed were Islamophobic.
A subsequent petition was signed by Mr Corbyn, who posted on Facebook: "In recent days, The Sun has published statements that incite Islamophobia and stigmatise entire communities. That is wrong, dangerous and must be condemned". The Labour leader was thought to have included Ms Champion's article in this.
Critics accused Mr Corbyn of "stalinist" tendancies after he demanded his shadow minister resign for speaking out.
Trevor Philips, the former chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, told The Telegraph: "I am absolutely gobsmacked, this is not the Labour party I know, even in the darkest days I don't remember people being asked to stand down for trying to represent their constituents, which is what I think Sarah Champion was trying to do.
We shouldn't have to have an argument about free speech, what this feels like is what we used to call democratic centralism in the Labour party, in other words Stalinism.
Writing in The Sun, Ms Champion said: "Britain has a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls.
There. I said it. Does that make me a racist? Or am I just prepared to call out this horrifying problem for what it is?
For too long we have ignored the race of these abusers and, worse, tried to cover it up. No more. These people are predators and the common denominator is their ethnic heritage.
We have to have grown-up conversations, however unpalatable, or in six months’ time we will be having this same scenario all over again.
Commenting on her decision to resign Ms Champion said: "I apologise for the offence caused by the extremely poor choice of words in The Sun article on Friday.
I am concerned that my continued position in the Shadow cabinet would distract from the crucial issues around child protection which I have campaigned on my entire political career.
It is therefore with regret that I tender my resignation as Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities.
Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party, said: "I have accepted Sarah Champion's resignation and thank her for her work in the shadow cabinet. I look forward to working together in future."
A spokeswoman for The Sun said: "Sarah Champion's column, as it appeared on Friday, was approved by her team and her adviser twice contacted us thereafter to say she was 'thrilled' with the piece and it 'looked great'.
Indeed, her only objection after the article appeared was her belief that her picture byline looked unflattering. Her office submitted five new pictures for further use.