A LABOUR party activist who claims the 'Holocaust was exaggerated' set up a new anti-Zionist organisation outside the party's London HQ...while suspended.

Pete Gregson, from Edinburgh, was suspended from Labour following his expulsion from trade union GMB for his remarks, and abusive behaviour towards a female Jewish Labour member and union employee.

Since then, he has faced no action from the Labour party in removing or reinstating his membership.

The Herald on Sunday can now reveal that the veteran activist held an event outside party HQ in London in May, while suspended, where he set up a new campaign group - Labour Against Zionist Islamophobic Racism (LAZIR).

The group’s logo is a laser beam smashing the logo of a Jewish Labour group, while its aims are to form a "mass movement" of Labour members to "kick the Zionists out of the Labour party, the trade unions…and anywhere else we can."

Labour's lack of action against Gregson has prompted criticism from senior figures within Scottish Labour, as well as GMB Scotland's chief Gary Smith.

Smith said it was "beggars belief" that the activist had not been expelled from Labour, while one senior party source said: "The issue we have in Scotland is that basically we are waiting for London to take action. In the mean time these people are continuing to act as if they are part of the Labour party, and carry out activities under the guise of Labour."

In an hour-long video interview with an obscure Edinburgh blogger, posted online in May, Gregson spoke about his new group and explained it came about after he started a petition calling Israel a "racist endeavour" - a term which under the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition, is anti-Semitic.

He said: "I created a petition... I punted it to lots of Labour party people... and said 'lets see if you get expelled'.

"So far, all they have done is suspend me and they haven't touched anybody who signed this thing.

"LAZIR is a new thing, we went to London and set it up at Labour headquarters. The idea is to kick the Zionists out of the Labour party, to kick them out of the trade unions, and to kick them out of anywhere else we can...which is difficult...but its got to be done.

"What happens in the Labour party, there is all this bogus anti-Semitism. Israel is terrified, they do not want Corbyn as leader because he could be the first Prime Minister ever that tells Israel where to get off. They are terrified of that, because they are a racist country.

"It's the case of building up a mass movement.... We have got to organise.

"Its not about the right and left, it's just about kicking the Zionists out. To be in LAZIR you have to be in the Labour party. We have to build a movement of the Labour party that challenges the Jewish Labour Movement..."

During the interview, he calls a Jewish GMB employee a "crazy Zionist" and accuses trade unions of being controlled by Zionists, along with the newspapers, the BBC and political parties.

Garry Smith, secretary of GMB Scotland, has criticised the Labour party for their sluggish response in dealing with Gregson.

He said: “The left in Scotland and the rest of the UK must get its act together on anti-Semitism; there is increasing ambiguity and enablement around this scourge.

“And the failure of the Labour Party in particular to comprehensively tackle anti Semitic behaviour within its ranks is utterly shameful.

“It’s the tip of the iceberg but the fact that individuals like Peter Gregson have yet to be expelled by the Labour Party simply beggars belief.

“In the time since he’s been expelled by GMB, he has continued to attack our union and our employees - yet his Labour membership remains only suspended.

“If we as an affiliate trade union are looking at this in horror then what must the Jewish community be thinking?”

One senior Labour source told the Herald on Sunday that cases such as Gregson's were "exceedingly troubling" and "a source of huge frustration for members in Scotland".

They said: "The issue we have in Scotland is that basically we are waiting for London to take action. In the mean time these people are continuing to act as if they are part of the Labour party, and carry out activities under the guise of Labour.

"Like Peter Gregson, starting this group and actively recruiting Labour members, and calling it something associated with the Labour Party. This shouldn't be allowed to happen at all, even if he wasn't suspended.

"The fact he is publicly speaking about setting up the group at Labour HQ in London, if this is the case, it is completely shameful."

Another party member said: "This case, along with Jim Sheridan's recent promotion, is sending completely the wrong message about how Labour are treating anti-Semitism or those considered anti-Semitic.

"We are supposed to have a zero tolerance policy, which right now is just laughable."

A Scottish Labour party spokesman said: “The Labour Party takes all complaints of antisemitism extremely seriously and we are committed to challenging and campaigning against it in all its forms.

"All complaints about antisemitism are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures and any appropriate disciplinary action is taken.”

The spokesman said that LAZIR was not affiliated to the Labour party, and any suggestion that it was would be incorrect.

They did not comment on LAZIR's formation at Labour party HQ, or on GMB's criticisms when asked to do so on Friday evening.

However we are happy to clarify that following publication today, the UK Labour party told the Herald on Sunday that Gregson's event was held outside the party headquarters, and that they had not been aware of our previous correspondence with Scottish Labour. They also said they were unable to say what action was being taken against Gregson, despite Gregson stating no date had yet been set for any disciplinary hearing. 

Gregson told the Herald on Sunday that he had been "suspended for criticising Israel" but added that "no date for a hearing had been offered" by Labour.

He said: "I am suspended for criticising Israel. I can’t imagine the Zionists in the Labour Party are pleased about that. But these people are racists, who support apartheid Israel. LAZIR will work to get such racists kicked out of the Party.

"I regard the suspension as an attack on my freedom of speech to criticise Israel. Sadly, Labour has adopted the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, which means that if anyone points out that Israel is apartheid, and has always been so, they are likely to be disciplined or expelled.

"We have lost our freedom of speech on Israel; that is the real scandal."