Chris Williamson to launch legal battle against Labour party over suspension for anti-semitism allegations
Chris Williamson has launched a bid to take legal action against the Labour Party following his suspension over anti-semitism allegations.
The Derby North MP has set up a crowdfunding campaign aiming to raise £75,000 for the court battle to “overturn the unconstitutional decision to ‘re-suspend’ me from the party I love”.
Mr Williamson was first suspended by the party in February after he was filmed at a meeting saying Labour had been “too apologetic” over the problem of anti-semitism in the party.
After being briefly re-admitted to the party by a National Executive Committee panel in June, he was suspended again 48 hours later after a mounting backlash from more than 100 Labour MPs, peers and staff.
His case has now been referred to Labour’s highest disciplinary body, the National Constitutional Committee, where his supporters claim his explusion will "almost certainly be a foregone conclusion”.
The crowdfunder, launched by the 'Campaign for Chris Williamson', said: “With a heavy heart and after months of personal distress, Chris has been forced to take legal action against the party that he has dedicated his life to.
“He is challenging his ‘re-suspension’ as unlawful. But to do so, he needs your support. This could be a long and costly legal battle. We need your help to cover the immediate costs of the legal case and campaign.
“Raising £75,000 will help meet the costs of Chris's case. Raising much more than that could allow us to begin building a legal fighting fund for the Labour Left, defending other comrades who have been maliciously accused and hounded out of the party.”
Mr Williamson said on Twitter: “I've dedicated my life to the Labour Party since I was 19 years-old, and I'm 63 next month.
“I would hugely appreciate your support in helping to overturn the unconstitutional decision to 're-suspend' me from the party I love.
“Remember, comrades: UNITY IS STRENGTH!”
Responding to the move, a Labour party spokesperson said: “Chris Williamson is suspended from the Labour Party pending a hearing of the National Constitutional Committee, Labour’s highest disciplinary body.
“We do not give a running commentary on individual cases."