Chris Williamson loses court bid to be reinstated as Labour MP after anti-semitism row
Chris Williamson has lost his High Court bid to be reinstated as a Labour MP after being booted out amid a row over anti-semitism.
The Derby North MP had the Labour whip withdrawn and his membership of the party suspended earlier his year over what party bosses described as a "pattern of behaviour" going back months.
Mr Williamson triggered an outcry among Labour MPs when footage emerged of him telling a meeting of supporters that the party had been "too apologetic" about its handling of anti-semitism.
He was briefly readmitted to the party in June - before being "re-suspended" within hours following fresh anger.
The MP then mounted a legal challenge to that move, with a crowd-funding campaign vowing to "overturn the unconstitutional decision to ‘resuspend’ me from the party I love."
But the High Court on Thursday upheld the original suspension, meaning the MP remains suspended from the party while disciplinary proceedings continue.
A Labour spokesperson said: "The court has upheld Chris Williamson’s suspension from the Party and has said his disciplinary case must run its course."
The move is likely to mean that he cannot stand as a Labour candidate if a snap general election is called.
However, it is understood that the court found that Mr Williamson's re-suspension in June should have been ratified by the organisational committee of the party's National Executive Committee.
Reacting to the verdict, the Derby North MP said the court had given a "a damning indictment of our party’s internal disciplinary procedures, which require a total overhaul – towards a fairer, more independent and more democratic system".
And he said: "My suspension must now be lifted. I will be focussing my energies, as we all should, on winning the next election."
But Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews said: "The High Court’s rejection of Chris Williamson’s bid for reinstatement leaves two remaining questions: Why Labour took so long to suspend him in the first place and why he has not yet been booted out?
"This serial baiter of the Jewish community must now be expelled from the Labour Party without any further delay.”