Chris Williamson loses Labour whip again as party reviews decision to reinstate him

Posted On: 
28th June 2019

Chris Williamson has lost the Labour whip again - just 48 hours after he was controversially allowed back into the party.

Chris Williamson had the Labour whip restored for 48 hours.
Credit: 
PA Images

Labour general secretary Jennie Formby has confirmed that the Disputes Committee of the party's National Executive Committee will consider the case when it next meets on 9 July.

It comes after Keith Vaz - who sat on the NEC panel which lifted Mr Williamson's suspension - raised concerns with Ms Formby about the way the case was handled.

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PoliticsHome revealed on Wednesday that the controversial Derby North MP had been readmitted after receiving a formal warning over allegations of anti-semitism.

He was initially suspended in February while Labour bosses investigated a "pattern of behaviour" going back months.

Although Labour staff had recommended that he be referred to the next stage of the party's disciplinary process, the three-person NEC panel decided to his suspension should be lifted.

The decision sparked uproar, with more than 100 Labour MPs and peers demanding Jeremy Corbyn remove the Labour whip from him.

Dozens of party staff members also wrote to Ms Formby demanding she take action, while Parliamentary Labour Party chairman John Cryer has also been urged to expel Mr Williamson.

Mr Vaz, who voted to reinstate the MP,  said that the fact that details of Mr Williamson's case were leaked to the media meant that the other 36 people dealt with by the panel "could potentially mount a legal challenge" against the party.

He said: "In my view, having served on the NEC for 15 years I consider the decisions the panel made yesterday cannot stand.

"In order to ensure complete integrity of the process either a new panel should be convened or all the cases from yesterday should be referred to the Disputes Committee for reconsideration."

On Friday, a Labour party source said: "Jennie Formby has written to the NEC to inform them that the issues raised in Keith Vaz’s email will be on the agenda for the NEC Disputes Committee’s next meeting.  

“Under the Party’s rule book, the General Secretary and the Leader of the Party cannot overturn decisions made by NEC panels, which are advised by independent barristers. Only the NEC has the power to do so. 

“Subsequently, the Whip is not restored as the decision is still pending."

Responding to the latest development, Mr Williamson tweeted: "They say a week is a long time in politics: it seems two days is even longer. I'm naturally concerned by the lack of due process and consistency in how my case is being handled. I've been a loyal Labour member for 43 years, and will do my utmost to fight for my membership."