Labour panel meet over MP suspended in anti-Semitism row

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Chris Williamson
Chris Williamson was first suspended from Labour in February

Labour’s disputes panel are meeting to discuss the suspension of one of its MPs over a row about anti-Semitism.

Chris Williamson was suspended in February after saying Labour had “given too much ground” over the issue.

He was readmitted last month after an investigation by the National Executive Committee, but suspended again two days later after a backlash from Labour MPs and Jewish groups.

The panel will decide whether Mr Williamson can remain a party member.

The decision must be approved by the NEC, but may then be passed onto the party’s National Constitutional Committee – the highest body in Labour’s disciplinary procedures.

The NCC will then decide whether Mr Williamson can stand as a Labour MP or how long any suspension will last.

The row began when the Derby North MP was filmed at a meeting in Sheffield, showing him telling activists Labour had been “too apologetic” over anti-Semitism and was being “demonised as a racist, bigoted party”.

It also came just a week after nine Labour MPs quit the party, citing anti-Semitism as one of the main reasons for the move.

Mr Williamson – who is a close ally of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn – said he “deeply” regretted the remarks and did not want anyone to think he was “minimising the cancer of anti-Semitism”.

He was readmitted in June after an investigation by a three-person NEC panel, but over 100 Labour MPs and peers signing a letter calling on Mr Corbyn to act and remove the whip from the Labour MP.

One of the panel members – former minister Keith Vaz – then called the process into question, meaning the issues he raised needed to be looked into – and Mr Williamson was suspended again.

Alison Carter
Supporters of Chris Williamson outside Labour’s NEC headquarters

A number of supporters of Mr Williamson have gathered outside the NEC headquarters to call for the MP to be reinstated, and a letter from over 100 Jewish signatories was published in the Guardian calling for the same.

But groups, including the Jewish Labour Movement and the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism have called for stronger action against him.

Labour meet over MP suspended in anti-Semitism row

Labour’s disputes panel are meeting to discuss the suspension of one of its MPs over a row about anti-Semitism. Chris Williamson was suspended in February after saying Labour had “given too much ground” over the issue. He was readmitted last month after an investigation by the National Executive Committee, but suspended again two days later after a backlash from Labour MPs and Jewish groups.

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