A tube driver who appeared to lead a chant of “free, free Palestine” on a train has been suspended while Transport for London investigates the incident.

The suspension has generated heated debate over whether the driver should or shouldn't have been suspended and also whether other chants would have been more accepted.

TfL said it had identified the driver responsible for the incident on a central London service on Saturday, as about 100,000 protesters took part in a pro-Palestine demonstration and demanded an end to Israel’s bombardment of Gaza.

Footage posted online by a journalist appeared to show the chant being led over the train's speaker system.

The driver of the Central Line service said "free, free" to which passengers responded "Palestine".

Glynn Barton, TfL's chief operating officer, said: "We have been urgently and thoroughly investigating the footage appearing to show a Tube driver misusing the PA system and leading chants on a Central Line train on Saturday.

"A driver has now been identified and suspended whilst we continue to fully investigate the incident in line with our policies and procedures."

The chant was criticised by minister for London Paul Scully who said Tube staff should "focus on the day job" and warned against stoking tension in the capital.

The Israeli Embassy said: "It is deeply troubling to see such intolerance on London's Tubes... public transport should be a place of safety and inclusivity for all."

On Saturday British Transport Police Assistant Chief Constable Sean O'Callaghan said the force was investigating and was "aware of footage circulating on social media which suggests chants are led by driver of a train in London earlier".

Today, Member of Parliament for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, Diane Abbott, said: "Tube driver who led chant of 'free, free Palestine' on an Underground train is suspended. Would this have happened if he was chanting “Free Ukraine”?"

"Would this have happened if he was chanting “Free Ukraine”?"

Broadcaster Narinder Kaur also commented: "He should have just chanted Free Ukraine and kept his job."

Others, however, supported the suspension and went one further. Journalist Carole Malone said: "Why has the tube driver who started Pro Palestinian chants just been suspended “ pending an investigation” There’s nothing to investigate it. He said it. We’ve all heard it. He should be fired immediately."

Former editor of The Sun Kelvin MacKenzie added: "Delighted to see TFL have suspended the Tube driver who hijacked the announcing system and lead a pro Palestinian chant. Suspension is the easy bit. Let’s see how the lefty union react when hopefully the driver is fired."