Labour re-suspends Chris Williamson over anti-Semitism scandal

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Labour has re-suspended the MP at the heart of an anti-Semitism scandal just two days after he was welcomed back into the party.

Derby North MP Chris Williamson had the Labour whip removed again last night after a wave of anger rocked the party at him being reinstated.


The furious backlash saw almost 70 Labour MPs and Peers sign a motion formally beginning moves to have Williamson again suspended from the parliamentary party after Jeremy Corbyn refused to act on their demands.

Mr Williamson had the Labour whip restored a panel of members from Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee decided he should receive only a reprimand for suggesting the party was “too apologetic” about antisemitism.

But one of the panel’s members Keith Vaz MP said that he believed the decision, which he helped make, should be reconsidered and wrote to Labour’s General Secretary Jennie Formby.

Yesterday a Labour Party source said Ms Formby had written to the NEC to inform them that the issues raised in Mr Vaz’s email would be reconsidered and Mr Williamson had the whip resuspended.

The MP is at the heart of an anti-Semitism scandal

 

The source added: “Under the party’s rule book, the general secretary and the leader of the party cannot overturn decisions made by NEC panels, which are advised by independent barristers. Only the NEC has the power to do so.

“Subsequently, the whip is not restored as the decision is still pending.”

Several members of Labour’s National Executive Committee told the Mirror that they will attempt to vote to reverse this week’s decision at their next meeting and refer Mr Williamson for a full investigation.

The move to re-suspend Mr Williamson came after as over 100 members of party staff wrote to an open letter that said they would be “made to feel unwelcome by his presence whilst at work” unless the decision to lift his suspension is not overturned.

Chris Williamson later tweeted: “They say a week is a long time in politics: it seems two days is even longer. I’m naturally concerned by the lack of due process and consistency in how my case is being handled. I’ve been a loyal Labour member for 43 years, and will do my utmost to fight for my membership.”

Williamson with Jeremy Corbyn

 

Outspoken Labour moderate Jess Phillips MP was among the more than 120 MPs and peers who signed a statement started by Deputy Leader Tom Watson calling for the removal of Mr

Williamson from the parliamentary party following his controversial readmission on Wednesday.

Ms Phillips said he Mr Williamson was guilty of “a litany of offensive behaviour towards the Jewish community and those fighting anti-Semitism”.

She told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “This is a matter of principle about racism, about the Labour Party being the party of equality, the party that is anti-racist. That reputation is slipping away from us every day.”

A Labour source defended Mr Corbyn’s refusal to personally intervene in the case and said it would be “wholly inappropriate for a leader to pick and choose cases in the way that is being demanded.”

Mr Williamson was suspended in February after video footage showed him telling a meeting of the Momentum group that Labour’s reaction to anti-Semitism allegations had led to the party being “demonised”.

He was also filmed saying he had celebrated the resignation of MP Joan Ryan, who quit Labour in protest over the handling of anti-Semitism and bullying complaints.

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