Labour MPs and peers demand Corbyn take action against Williamson

© UK Parliament

Over 140 Labour parliamentarians have signed a statement calling on Jeremy Corbyn to take action against Chris Williamson, the MP for Derby North whose suspension from the party was lifted by members of the ruling body on Wednesday.

Led by deputy leader Tom Watson, 83 Labour MPs and 61 Labour peers are demanding that Corbyn “show leadership” on the issue. They have asked the Labour leader to request that the national executive committee (NEC) decision be overturned and to remove the whip from Williamson “immediately”.

Signatories include members of Labour’s frontbench team, such as Jenny Chapman, Gloria De Piero, Chi Onwurah, Sharon Hodgson, Rosena Allin-Khan and Steve Reed.

The decision to issue Williamson with a formal warning rather than refer his case upwards to Labour’s national constitutional committee (NCC) was made by a panel of three NEC members. Labour MP Keith Vaz and local party representative Huda Elmi voted for Williamson to be readmitted, whereas George Howarth MP voted against.

LabourList understands that the full disputes panel – which meets in two weeks – can choose to reject the decision made, though cannot take itself take a decision on the case. It could either refer it again, to be heard by a different panel, or push through a rule change and allow the full NEC to hear the case.

Williamson was suspended from the party and the whip was withdrawn in February. The action was taken after footage emerged of Williamson telling a Momentum event that Labour had been “too apologetic” about antisemitism within the party and “given too much ground”.

Update, 6.45pm: Keith Vaz, who voted for the decision, has written to general secretary Jennie Formby arguing that it should be reconsidered.

Below is the full text of the statement so far signed by 144 Labour MPs and peers.

We cannot overstate the depth and breadth of hurt and anger felt about the readmission of Chris Williamson into the Labour Party and the questions that arise about the fairness of the process.

The officer recommendation – that Chris Williamson should be referred to the National Constitutional Committee for action – was ignored by the members of the NEC panel. That the composition of that panel was changed at short notice seems highly irregular.

Justice needs to be seen to be done and this process has not done that.

Given that the Labour Party is being investigated by the EHRC over allegations of institutional antisemitism this case is particularly important.

It is clear to us that the Labour Party’s disciplinary process remains mired by the appearance of political interference. This must stop. We need a truly independent process.

We call on Jeremy Corbyn to show leadership by asking for this inappropriate, offensive and reputationally damaging decision to be overturned and reviewed.

Ultimately, it is for Jeremy Corbyn to decide whether Chris Williamson retains the Labour whip. He must remove it immediately if we are to stand any hope of persuading anyone that the Labour Party is taking antisemitism seriously.

Signed:

Tom Watson
Holly Lynch
Stella Creasy
Anna Turley
Rosie Duffield
Louise Ellman
Kate Green
Ruth Cadbury
Owen Smith
Seema Malhotra
Liz Kendall
Chris Matheson
Margaret Hodge
Stephen Kinnock
Jeff Smith
Chris Bryant
Wes Streeting
Julie Elliott
Lord Levy
Lord Knight of Weymouth
Lord Harris of Haringey
Ali McGovern
James Frith
Lucy Powell
Bridget Phillipson
Pat McFadden
Baroness McIntosh of Hudnall
Lord Triesman
Darren Jones
Alex Sobel
Karen Buck
Neil Coyle
Lord Mandelson
Anna McMorrin
Chi Onwurah
Baroness Taylor of Bolton
Lord Willie Bach
Susan Elan Jones
Ged Killen
Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale
Lord Livermore
Kevin Barron
Dan Jarvis
Jess Phillips
Martin Whitfield
Rachel Reeves
Peter Kyle
Baroness Armstrong of Hilltop
Lord Levy
Baroness Maggie Jones
Rushanara Ali
Debbie Abrahams
Daniel Zeichner
Lilian Greenwood
Graham Jones
Toby Perkins
Lord George Robertson
Baroness Mary Goudie
Barry Sheerman
Tonia Antoniazzi
Ian Lucas
Lord George Foulkes
Lord Wood of Anfield
Cat McKinnell
Ben Bradshaw
Lord Haskell
Lisa Nandy
Gareth Thomas
Lord Brooke
Sharon Hodgson
Ellie Reeves
Ruth Smeeth
Jenny Chapman
Roberta Blackman- Woods
Stephen Doughty
Karin Smyth
Baroness Thornton
Lord McNicol
Baroness Morgan of Huyton
Lord Turnberg
Gloria De Piero
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon
Yvette Cooper
Baroness Massey of Darwen
Baroness Kingsmill
Lord Dubs
Ian Murray
Tulip Siddiq
Rosena Allin-Khan
Diana Johnson
Luke Pollard
Phil Wilson
Lord Woolmer of Leeds
Siobhain McDonagh
Caroline Flint
Khalid Mahmood
Lord Collins of Highbury
Lord Desai
Lord Filkin
Lord Woolmer of Leeds
Baroness Henig
Hilary Benn
Baroness Crawley
Steve Reed
Lord Drayson
Emma Reynolds
Stephen Morgan
Tracy Brabin
Vernon Coaker
Lord Donoughue
Stephen Twigg
Lord Faulkner of Worcester
Baroness Hughes of Stretford
Lord Snape
Lord Young of Norwood Green
Lord Soley
Madeleine Moon
Mary Creagh
Conor McGinn
Lord Mendelsohn
Janet Daby
Baroness Corston
Baroness Lister of Burtersett
Baroness McDonagh
Lord Blunkett
Helen Goodman
Ruth George
Baroness Primorolo
Baroness Morris of Yardley
Baroness Wheeler
Lord Kennedy of Southwark
Baroness Liddell
Baroness Andrews
Baroness Prosser
David Hanson
Baroness Lister
Baroness Kennedy of the Shaws
David Lammy
Lord Bradley
Lord Liddle
Lord Lennie
Baroness Nye
Lord Stone
Lord Berkeley

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