Page last updated at 10:54 GMT, Tuesday, 12 May 2009 11:54 UK

Diplomat charged with race abuse

Scales of Justice
Rowan Laxton has been suspended by the Foreign Office

A senior Foreign Office diplomat has been charged with racially aggravated harassment after allegedly shouting anti-Semitic abuse.

Rowan Laxton, 48, is alleged to have made the comments while watching Israeli attacks on Gaza on television at a central London gym in January.

Mr Laxton, of Bayswater, west London, has been bailed to appear before Westminster magistrates on 19 May.

The Foreign Office said Mr Laxton had been suspended pending the case.

Criminal process

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We can confirm that a member of Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) staff has been charged with a Section 5 public order offence.

"He will be subject to an FCO disciplinary process once the criminal process is complete. The FCO takes very seriously any suggestion of inappropriate behaviour by its staff. He remains suspended.

"No judgement has been made by the FCO regarding the allegations, this is a matter for the police."

The Metropolitan Police said Mr Laxton was arrested and charged on 8 May.

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