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Chris Williamson vows to fight election as independent after Labour bans him from standing

3 min read

Chris Williamson has accused Labour bosses of a "capitulation" as he vowed to stand as an independent candidate after being blocked from running for the party.

The MP confirmed he was resigning from Labour and would fight the Derby North seat under his own banner.

Mr Williamson was one of three former Labour MPs informed on Wednesday that they will not be candidates for the party on 12 December following a decision by Labour's ruling national executive committee.

He had the whip withdrawn and his membership of the party suspended earlier this year over what officials described as a "pattern of behaviour". 

He had 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. 

In a letter sent to the party's general secretary Jennie Forbmy following the NEC's decision, Mr Williamson accused Labour of being influenced by "apartheid apologists"

"After almost forty-four years of loyal service and commitment, it is with a heavy heart that I now resign my membership of the Labour Party and declare my intention to stand as an independent candidate for Derby North," he said.

Mr Williamson added: "I am dismayed that Labour Party officials have enabled and executed what I believe to be a witch hunt against hundreds of socialists loyal to Jeremy Corbyn and his transformative, socialist, anti-imperialist worldview. Many of the victims of this witch hunt have been Jewish socialists, whose anti-Zionism is anathema to the apartheid apologists apparent influencing Labour foreign and domestic policy."

The Derby North candidate said party officials had "capitulated to the Jewish Labour Movement" - one of Labour's oldest affiliates - and railed against the Israeli government's "diplomatic strategy to delegitimise Palestinian activism on the Left and normalise Zionism in our movement".

He went on: "I will invite all those who see the threat posed by this capitulation to join me as we build an independent movement that is genuinely socialist and anti-imperialist. We will fight a vigorous campaign in Derby North and beyond - based on social justice, democracy and internationalism."

Reacting to Mr Williamson's suspension as a candidate on Wednesday, anti-racism charity HOPE Not Hate said: "HOPE Not Hate has been calling for the Labour Party to expel Chris Williamson over his trolling of the Jewish community, so we welcome the NEC's decision to effectively exclude him from standing as a Labour candidate. It is deeply depressing that this was even a possibility. Chris Williamson has no place in the Labour Party whatsoever."

A party source meanwhile said: "The Labour party rule book clearly states individuals who are suspended from the party are not eligible to be Labour candidates. The Labour Party is also clear that all Labour Parliamentary candidates must receive endorsement from the NEC in order to be confirmed as Labour candidates."

Labour MPs also welcomed the decision to ban Mr Williamson from standing for the party.

Reacting to his letter to Ms Formby, Anna Turley tweeted: "Anti-Jewish racist carries on being racist. So glad he out."

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