MP Chris Williamson suspended from Labour Party over anti-Semitism remarks

MP Chris Williamson has been suspended from Labour after suggesting the party had “given too much ground” in its response to complaints of anti-Semitism.

The prominent ally of Jeremy Corbyn has been suspended pending an investigation after he claimed Labour had been “too apologetic” in response to complaints.

A Labour spokesman said: “Chris Williamson is suspended from the party, and therefore the whip, pending investigation.”

The MP for Derby North had been issued with a “notice of investigation for a pattern of behaviour”, but a decision was later taken by the party’s general secretary Jennie Formby to suspend him.

Mr Williamson said he would be working to clear his name.

He told Sky News: “It’s a process that the party is going to go through and I will be working to clear my name.

“I just need to see what is being said and then we’ll take it from there.”

He has faced a furious backlash over the remarks, which he later apologised for and said he deeply regretted.

It comes after a group of 38 Labour MPs wrote to Jennie Formby on Tuesday demanding Chris Williamson be suspended, in a letter seen by The Times.

The letter, signed by MPs including Yvette Cooper, Owen Smith and Gareth Thomas, said that “there can be no half measures when dealing with any form of racism within our party”.

It continued: “His [Mr Williamson] actions have brought the party into disrepute and his behaviour must be investigated and dealt with under our disciplinary procedures.

“Given there can be no doubt about what he has said and done, Chris Williamson should have his membership suspended and the whip removed while the investigation takes place.”

Former Labour leader Ed Miliband earlier said Mr Williamson’s comments brought Labour “into disrepute” while deputy leader Tom Watson insisted he should be suspended.

He was filmed making the remarks at an event hosted by the Corbynite supporters’ group Momentum. 

Audience of activists in Sheffield applauded him as he played down the crisis caused by anti-Semitic attacks by Labour supporters on Jewish MPs and members.

He claimed the party was being “demonised as a racist party” and had “given too much ground” to its critics.



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