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WATCH: Chris Williamson says Labour has been 'too apologetic' over anti-semitism

3 min read

Labour has been "too apologetic" over the anti-semitism controversy which has hit the party, MP Chris Williamson has said.

In comments described as "stomach churning" by one Labour colleague, the Derby North MP said the party had "given too much ground" to those who have accused the party of failing to get a grip on racist abuse against Jewish people.

In a video obtained by the Yorkshire Post, Mr Williamson also revealed that he celebrated the resignations of Labour MPs last week by singing 1980s Kool and the Gang hit "Celebration" at "full blast" from his office.

And he joked that it could have been heard from the office of Joan Ryan, the chair of Labour Friends of Israel who quit the party last week with a stinging attack on Jeremy Corbyn's handling of anti-semitism complaints.

To applause from supporters, Mr Williamson told the Momentum meeting: "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 came under fire from Labour colleagues after the footage emerged.

Deputy party leader Tom Watson said he believed the MP was being "deiberately inflammatory".



The row came as anti-racism charity Hope Not Hate urged Jeremy Corbyn to boot Mr Williamson out of the party, after he was rapped by Labour bosses for booking a room in Parliament to host a film about an activist accused of anti-semitism.

The Jewish News revealed that the MP had reserved committee room 12 for a screening of "Witchhunt", a documentary about Jackie Walker, who was suspended by Labour in 2016 for claiming it would "be wonderful if Holocaust day was open to all people who experienced holocaust".

The former vice-chair of Momentum had earlier sparked an outcry by claiming Jewish people were "financiers of the sugar and slave trade".

A Labour party spokesperson said on Tuesday: "It's completely inappropriate to book a room for an event about an individual who is suspended from the party and subject to ongoing disciplinary procedures. This falls below the standards we expect of MPs."

But Hope Not Hate's campaign’s director Matthew McGregor urged Mr Corbyn to go further and remove Labour the whip from Mr Williamson.

He told HuffPost UK: "This isn’t Chris Williamson’s first anti-semitism scandal, and it’s unlikely to be his last.

"If Labour is genuinely serious about removing the taint of anti-semitism from its ranks, it should do the decent thing and expel Williamson from the party."

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