Labour members in Sheffield have passed a motion calling for suspended Labour MP Chris Williamson to be immediately reinstated.
Party activists in Sheffield Hallam Constituency Labour Party overwhelmingly passed a resolution claiming that Mr Williamson has been a victim of false allegations of antisemitism.
The statement said that Mr Williamson’s comments, in which he said the Labour Party has “backed off far too much” and has been “too apologetic” about allegations of antisemitism when it had done more than other parties to fight it, did not downplay concerns about antisemitism.
The branch said the real problem was that it was a way for deputy leader Tom Watson and right-wing MPs to undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the party and to try and undermine Labour’s democratic processes for reselecting MPs.
It read: “This is an excuse for Tom Watson and the anti-Corbyn wing of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) to demand his removal from the party.
“Chris is a target because he is one of the very few Labour MPs who have openly stood up to the witch-hunt of Corbyn supporters and because he has campaigned tirelessly for the much-needed democratisation of the party.”
The statement also attacked accusations that Labour is an institutionally anti-semitic party and pointed out that data released by general secretary Jennie Formby shows that only 0.08 per cent of party members had done anything meriting investigation over anti-semitism.
Mr Williamson, who represents Derby North, is a vocal backer of Mr Corbyn’s leadership and has huge support among Labour’s membership.
Labour Heartlands have been informed that will not be the only motion by a CLP demanding Chris Williamson be reinstated.
What brought about Chris Williamson’s suspension?
His remarks at a Sheffield Momentum meeting provoked uproar from sections of Labour’s right-wing membership and led to the whip being removed from him.
Tom Watson is seen to be the primary person behind the suspension of Chris Williamson
Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, has accused suspended MP Chris Williamson of being “deliberately inflammatory”
Watson said: “I’ve seen his recent contributions that have appeared online and was very concerned it was almost like he was being deliberately inflammatory, deliberately trying to cause offence to people who are concerned about antisemitism – not just the Jewish community but people who are fighting racism in their daily political lives.”
He added: “I’m very clear – his behaviour in my view was unacceptable, which is why it was absolutely right for the whip to be removed and him to be suspended.”
The big question is was a suspension justified?
Chris Williamson remarks were as follows:
Chris Williamson’s remarks at the Momentum event were obtained by the Yorkshire Post and were as follows.
To applause from those present, Mr Williamson said: “The party that has done more to stand up to racism is now being demonised as a racist, bigoted party.
“I have got to say I think our party’s response has been partly responsible for that because in my opinion… we’ve backed off far too much, we have given too much ground, we’ve been too apologetic…
“We’ve done more to actually address the scourge of antisemitism than any other political party. Any other political party. And yet we are being traduced.”
Labour bosses demanded that he retract his comments and apologise, while deputy leader Tom Watson led calls for him to have the whip suspended.
Chris Williamson made a formal apology for his remarks. But the Suspension was still made. You can read the apology and see the actual video to judge for yourself HERE
Meanwhile an Online petition gathers momentum to remove Tom Watson from the Deputy leader position.
The online petition reads:
We, the undersigned, have no confidence in the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Tom Watson MP, and petition for him to be removed from his post for repeated attacks on the Labour Party, it’s membership and it’s voters. He is undermining the fight we are all trying to take to the Tories, undermining the various campaigns we are involved in across the country and repeatedly bringing the party into disrepute.
In the 2015 Deputy Leadership election Tom Watson MP stood on a platform that claimed he would stand by the leader, no matter who that turned out to be. On different occasions he has openly and subversively attacked the leadership of the party as the opportunities have presented themselves. He has betrayed the mandate he sought from the membership and therefore holds no legitimacy in his role.
Thank you for your attention.
The petition link HERE
Mean while two hashtag campaigns are running in support of Chris Williamson.