Sat, 18 May 2024

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The House Live All
By Lord Watson of Wyre Forest
Press releases

EXCL Chris Williamson is allowed back into Labour party after suspension over anti-semitism rows

3 min read

Chris Williamson has been allowed back into the Labour party following an investigation into allegations of anti-semitism.

The controversial Derby North MP was suspended in February over a "pattern of behaviour" going back months.

But that was lifted on Wednesday by a three-person NEC panel on anti-semitism, despite a recommendation from party staff that he be referred to the next stage of Labour's disciplinary process.

He was instead issued with a formal warning after being found to have breached the party's rules.

A Labour source said: "He could face further, more severe, action if he repeats any similar comments or behaviour."

A party spokesman said: "The Labour Party takes all complaints extremely seriously, which are investigated in line with our rules and procedures. We can’t comment on individual cases."

Mr Williamson was served with a "notice of investigation" four months ago after it emerged he told a meeting of Sheffield Momentum that Labour had been "too apologetic" over its anti-semitism problem.

To applause from those present, Mr Williamson said: "The party that has done more to stand up to racism is now being demonised as a racist, bigoted party.

“I have got to say I think our party's response has been partly responsible for that because in my opinion… we've backed off far too much, we have given too much ground, we've been too apologetic...

“We've done more to actually address the scourge of anti-semitism than any other political party. Any other political party. And yet we are being traduced.”

Mr Williamson eventually issued an apology for his remarks, but was then suspended by the party so a full investiagtion could be carried out.

PoliticsHome understands that Keith Vaz led the moves to reject a recommendation from Labour staff that Mr Williamson be referred to the party's National Constitution Committee, which deals with serious disciplinary cases.

He argued that because Mr Williamson represents a marginal seat and that Labour MPs have less than two weeks to tell party bosses whether they wish to stand at the next election, he should be let off with a warning. 

Labour MP Ruth Smeeth told PoliticsHome: "Chris Williamson has demonstrated a pattern of behaviour over a period of many months seemingly seeking to intentionally undermine, marginalise and harass the British Jewish community and Jewish Labour party members, which has continually brought the Labour party into disrepute.

"The fact the the NEC disputes panel has today ignored the recommendations of Labour party staff to let him off with a slap on the wrist is simply appalling.

"It’s no surprise that the Labour party is being investigated by the Equality and Human Rights Commission for institutionalised anti-Jewish hatred.

"I’m truly disgusted that he’s being readmitted to the Labour party. It’s yet another appalling day for the Labour party and makes it clear that the party really doesn’t care about anti-Jewish hate in our ranks at all."

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