Labour veteran Trevor Phillips has been suspended from the party over allegations of Islamophobia.
The anti-racism campaigner, who previously chaired the Equality and Human Rights Commission, faces an investigation and could be expelled.
According to the Times, the probe is over comments he made in the past, including remarks on Pakistani Muslim men sexually abusing children in Northern British towns.
The paper said many of his statements date back years but that Labour’s general secretary Jennie Formby suspended him as a matter of urgency to “protect the party’s reputation”.
Mr Phillips has accused Labour of attempting to restrict members from having a “healthy debate” about how British society could “address differences of values”.
The 66-year-old argued that society had to learn to deal with Islamic differences rather than hope Muslims would assimilate to a British way of life.
In a discussion on talkRADIO, Mike Graham and former Number 10 communications director Katie Perrior said it was “ridiculous” to suspend Mr Phillips, who has been “someone who we look to for sound advice on these matters”.
Ms Perrior told Mike: “You should be allowed to say what the facts say for themselves and you should be allowed to discuss them and ask the question why and is there anything more we can do as a society to prevent that?
“And Trevor, for opening his mouth over many, many years, they’ve come down on him for a crime that seems to be ages old and highly ridiculous.”
Comparing the investigation into Mr Phillips with Labours action on alleged anti-Semitism, Ms Perrior said it was an “utter embarrassment” and urged the party’s leadership candidates to “come out today and say so”.
A Labour Party spokeswoman said: “The Labour Party takes all complaints about Islamophobia extremely seriously and they are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures, and any appropriate disciplinary action is taken.”
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