Sheffield Hallam support suspended MP after anti-Semitism remark

Sheffield Hallam Constituency Labour Party voted 40-1 for a motion to reinstate a suspended MP after he made anti-Semitism remarks at a meeting.

Friday, 1st March 2019, 1:54 pm
Updated Friday, 1st March 2019, 1:57 pm
Labour MP Chris Williamson, an ally of Jeremy Corbyn, who has been criticised by several Labour MPs for saying the party has been "too apologetic" over anti-Semitism.

The members backed Chris Williamson, MP for Derby North and key ally of Jeremy Corbyn, after he was suspended for saying the party had given ‘too much ground’ in its response to complaints of anti-Semitism and was being ‘demonised as a racist party’.

In the motion they said: “The allegation that Chris is downplaying anti-Semitism is totally unfounded. His comments, made at a Momentum meeting in Sheffield, were taken out of context in a deliberate attempt to ruin both the reputation of Chris Williamson MP and Jeremy Corbyn.”

The constituency are now preparing to send a letter to Jennie Formby, general secretary, with the full motion demanding that Mr Williamson is reinstated.

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Councillor Shaffaq Mohammed, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said it was ‘horrific’.

“It horrifies me that a Labour MP said we should do less to tackle anti-Semitism - we should never do less to tackle racism, homophobia or any kind of discrimination.

“If you think that was bad Hallam have now supported it 40-1 - have they lost their moral compass? It’s ridiculous. This is very bad for the city. The Jewish community in Sheffield will feel very vulnerable right now and we need to be doing all we can to support them.”

Mr Williamson was given a ‘notice of investigation for a pattern of behaviour’ but a decision was later taken by Ms Formby to suspend him. He said at the time he would be working to clear his name.

Last week a group of 38 Labour MPs wrote to Ms Formby calling for him to be suspended. In it they said: “There can be no half measures when dealing with any form of racism within our party.”

Mr Williamson was filmed saying the comments at a Momentum meeting in Sheffield where local councillors were seen clapping and cheering his remark.

Councillor Olivia Blake, Labour candidate for Sheffield Hallam, has been contacted for a response.