Readmission and resuspension of Chris Williamson echoes Ken Livingstone case and shows that Labour’s “due process” remains a sham
The Labour Party’s decision to readmit and then resuspend its disgraced MP, Chris Williamson, shows that its pretence of “due process” in its disciplinary decisions is a sham.
Mr Williamson has devoted much of his time as an MP to baiting Jews by dismissing allegations of antisemitism as “proxy wars and bulls***” whilst supporting Labour activists like Marc Wadsworth and Jackie Walker who were expelled from the Party over their comments. Eventually, the Labour Party suspended Mr Williamson under duress in response to a public outcry after a video emerged of him claiming that Labour has been “too apologetic” over antisemitism. On the way to being told of his suspension he was seen receiving a warm hug from Party Chairman Ian Lavery.
The decision to reinstate him shows that the Labour Party holds British Jews in contempt and demonstrates that the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) was right to act on our referral and open a full statutory investigation into Labour’s antisemitism crisis.
The Labour Party initially stood by the decision of its National Executive Committee’s (NEC) Disputes Panel to readmit Mr Williamson, with a Labour source merely offering that “He could face further, more severe, action if he repeats any similar comments or behaviour”, but that changed in response to uproar from over 120 Labour MPs and peers who demanded that Mr Williamson lose the whip.
The Labour Party has now decided not to lift Mr Williamson’s suspension, having decided to readmit him. This effectively amounts to resuspension. The Party has said that the verdict will be reconsidered.
The case mirrors the sequence of events in which Ken Livingstone, having claimed that Hitler “was supporting Zionism”, was suspended by the Party, investigated, readmitted prompting a furore, and then suspended anew so that supposed new allegations could be investigated. Mr Livingstone resigned from the Party before a new verdict could be reached. Mr Corbyn said that Mr Livingstone’s departure brought him “sadness”.
For years, we have watched as Baroness Chakrabarti first shrouded Labour’s disciplinary process in secrecy, and then as it increasingly became corrupted by political influence. Occasional public episodes such as the cases of Mr Livingstone and now Mr Williamson show just how untrustworthy the Labour Party is when it comes to handling cases of antisemitism.
On 28th May, the EHRC launched a full statutory investigation following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant.
In recent months, eleven MPs have resigned from the Labour Party over antisemitism, along with a large number of MEPs, councillors and members.
Over 55,000 people have now signed our petition denouncing Jeremy Corbyn as an antisemite and declaring him “unfit to hold any public office.”