Labour bans three former MPs from standing in upcoming election

Three former Labour MPs have been banned from standing in the upcoming general election.

Labour’s governing body, the National Executive Committee (NEC), has ruled Chris Williamson, Stephen Hepburn and Roger Godsiff cannot stand as candidates in the December poll.

The party will select alternative candidates to stand in their former constituencies.

Mr Williamson, MP for Derby North, was suspended from the party in February for claiming Labour had been “too apologetic” over anti-Semitism allegations.

Chris Williamson outside the Birmingham Civil Justice Centre (PA)

But he was readmitted to the party and given a formal warning following a hearing of a National Executive Committee (NEC) anti-Semitism panel in June – leading to outcry from MPs and Jewish groups.

He was suspended again in July after a second panel found the decision to reinstate him “cannot safely stand”.

Stephen Hepburn had the whip withdrawn over a complaint of sexual harassment ( John Stilwell/PA Archive)

Mr Hepburn, who represents Jarrow in Gateshead, had the whip withdrawn last month following a complaint of sexual harassment.

The party rules state individuals suspended from the party are not eligible to be Labour candidates.

And finally, Mr Godsiff, who was rebuked by Labour’s chief whip Nick Brown for his position on LGBT+ rights, was undergoing a re-selection process when the election was called.

It is understood the chief whip recommended Mr Godsiff, MP for Birmingham Hall Green, should not be backed to stand in the election.

Roger Godsiff is not being backed in the upcoming election (PA)

Board of Deputies of British Jews president Marie van der Zyl called on Labour to expel Mr Williamson from the party after making the “correct” decision to stop him standing again.

She said: “The NEC ruling to bar Chris Williamson MP from standing again in Derby North is the correct one. However this is not enough.

“Labour’s leadership must now stop dragging their feet and act immediately to expel from the party this disgraced politician who has baited the Jewish community for far too long.”

Labour Against Antisemitism’s Fiona Sharpe criticised the NEC, saying the decision was “too late in coming and totally inadequate”.

She said:”Mr Williamson should have been expelled from the Labour Party years ago, when his views first started appearing in public.

“Instead the Labour Party appeared to drag its feet and, in our opinion, failed to take the appropriate action – an appalling demonstration of the alleged institutional racism now being investigated by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission.

“Acting at the 11th hour in this haphazard way just appears to show that the Labour Party can’t be trusted to protect the minority communities it purports to stand up for.”


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