Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn “personally” intervened on behalf of his senior ally Chris Williamson to prevent him from being suspended from the party over a pattern of hostility toward the Jewish community, The Independent reported Thursday.
Corbyn’s unsuccessful attempt to derail Williamson’s suspension happened just days after a group of nine Labour MPs quit the party, citing the leadership’s unwillingness to eradicate anti-Semitism in the organization.
After Williamson was caught on camera telling a meeting of the far-left Momentum group that the party had been “too apologetic” in its response to anti-Semitic complaints, Labour’s chief whip Nick Brown moved to suspend the MP. Corbyn’s office, however, intervened and ruled against the decision.
One shadow cabinet source told The Independent: “This decision was taken off Nick Brown and taken by the general secretary and the leader’s office. They hide behind process, but these decisions are always taken by the leader’s office.”
The MP added: “It was made quite clear by the senior whips that withdrawing the whip would be a good idea and part of the process. The leader’s office said ‘No, we can’t do that’.
“The advice from the whips was very clear from early on that he should be suspended. That advice was given very robustly to the leader’s office this morning and it was ignored.”
Corbyn’s decision was only overturned after several Labour MPs threatened to resign and demanded immediate action against Williamson. The party then announced late Thursday that Williamson had been suspended pending an investigation.
In addition, the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) committee – which unanimously passed a motion earlier this month demanding that Labour’s National Executive Committee provide detailed data in writing on the handling of anti-Semitic incidents in the party – took a “totally unprecedented” decision asking Williamson to stop attending their meetings.
Corbyn’s office did not deny that his office had intervened in the matter.
[Photo: Wochit News / YouTube ]