Furious row explodes after Chris Williamson expelled from anti-hunt charity
A bitter row has erupted between Labour MP Chris Williamson and an animal protection charity after he was expelled as a member for allegedly campaigning against it.
The League Against Cruel Sports said the MP and former board member was one of the “first membership expulsions ever in the League’s history as a charity”.
The row exploded after Mr Williamson reported to the Charity Commission an allegation that the League tried to hack its rival campaign the Countryside Alliance. The League denies the claim.
Mr Williamson - a long-time vegan and animal rights campaigner - has said the League needs “saving” and has pushed to have its new CEO ousted.
He has claimed the campaign group has financial problems and is being taken to court by disgruntled ex-staff members. He also argues his expulsion was "unconstitutional and unfounded".
The League confirmed to PoliticsHome that a number of employment tribunals were underway. But in a furious blog post it raged: “Chris’ actions are damaging the anti-hunting movement as a whole.”
“Chris has done this after being expelled from the League. An action to expel a Trustee is not taken lightly. It was done fairly and by the book,” it added.
“Along with another former trustee campaigning against us, these are the first membership expulsions ever in the League’s history as a charity...
“We have highly credible and courageous board that, with the removal of Chris Williamson, command the loyalty and respect of the staff.”
In another post, it added: "Mr Williamson, who has rarely attended board meetings for the League for several years, was expelled after he supported someone who was abusing League members of staff.
"He was offered 12 opportunities to make his case to trustees – that he did not accept these offers suggests he had no case to make."
Mr Williamson has said on Facebook: "These are critical days for the League Against Cruel Sports. Hunters are continuing to pursue and illegally kill wild mammals for sport with apparent impunity.
"Yet the remaining trustees are failing in their duty to provide effective governance to the charity. They are potentially putting the very existence of the League at risk by ineffectual oversight of the organisation.
"This could not just cause untold damage to the League, but also fatally undermine the animal welfare and rights movement, and all that we hold dear and stand for."
A Labour source told PoliticsHome: “Like with the Labour party, Chris Williamson seems intent on sabotaging everything he can get his hands near.”