Outrage as shamed Chris Williamson welcomed back to Labour despite anti-Semitism slur

The politician has been welcomed back into the left-wing party today by three NEC panel members, despite deploying a “pattern of behaviour” that saw him suspended and a recommendation he be referred to the next stage of Labour’s disciplinary process by other members. A Labour source told Politics Home: “He could face further, more severe, action if he repeats any similar comments or behaviour.” A party spokesman said: “The Labour Party takes all complaints extremely seriously, which are investigated in line with our rules and procedures. We can’t comment on individual cases.”

He was issued with a formal warning after breaching party rules.

Mr Williamson was suspended from the Labour Party less than 24 hours after he said the party was “too apologetic” when it came to dealing with anti-Semitism.

Mr Williamson said at a Momentum meeting in Sheffield in February: “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 have backed off too much, we have given too much ground, we have been too apologetic.”

Confirming his suspension, a spokesman for the party said: “Chris Williamson is suspended from the Party, and therefore the whip, pending investigation.”

The bizarre footage prompted a wave of criticism on social media, with BBC Radio 4 presenter Nick Robinson reminding Mr Williamson he had denied evidence of any anti-Semitism among Labour Party members.

The tweet said: “Hi @DerbyChrisW, you told me on @BBCr4today that you’d never seen anti-semitism in the Labour Party. Did you forget you’d agreed to screen a film in Parliament by a woman suspended from Labour for saying the Jews controlled the slave trade?”

Labour deputy Tom Watson called Mr Williamson “deliberately inflammatory” at the time of the footage.

Former Labour leader Ed Miliband added: “Chris Williamson is bringing the Labour party into disrepute over anti-semitism. This is a test of seriousness on our part about the whole issue.

“Disciplinary action, not simply an apology, is required.”

Yvette Cooper spoke of her outrage at the decision to allow Mr Williamson back in and said: “This is about a pattern of behaviour not a single incident. Our party urgently needs a transparent independent process to deal with antisemitism because this is badly failing.”

MP Jess Phillips added: “If I'd said the things Chris Williamson did I would be out of the party no question.”

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