Corbyn says he is 'not involved' in Chris Williamson case

The Derby North MP, suspended from Labour for four months, was let back into the party on Wednesday


Jeremy Corbyn has reportedly declined to intercede in Chris Williamson's readmission to Labour, despite more than 100 Labour MPs and peers urging him to “show leadership” on the issue.

In an open letter published yesterday, Labour politicians urged the leader of their party to call for “this inappropriate, offensive and reputationally damaging decision to be overturned and reviewed”.

Mr Williamson, the MP for Derby North, was suspended from the party in February after video footage emerged of him suggesting that the Labour party had been “too apologetic” on the issue of antisemitism, the latest in a long line of incidents involving the MP which had angered the Jewish community.

On Wednesday, a three-person panel from Labour’s National Executive Committee voted by two-to-one to reject advice that Mr Williamson’s case should be returned to the National Constitutional Council, the party’s highest disciplinary committee. Instead they opted to let Mr Williamson off with a warning and reinstate his membership.

The Politics Home website reported that a source close to Mr Corbyn said it would be “wholly inappropriate” for him to get involved in the issue, saying “the leader of the party is not involved in disciplinary processes or individual cases, which are independent of the leader.”

The source also made it clear that Labour’s General Secretary would not be able to overturn the decision of the NEC panel either.

Speaking on Thursday, the Labour leader said he "wasn't involved in the decision at all", saying that the NEC panel "went though the case in great detail and...made that decision" to reinstate the Derby North MP. 

News of Mr Williamson’s reinstatement was not met with uniform dismay from Labour politicians, however. Karen Lee, Labour MP for Lincoln, wrote on Facebook that she was “absolutely chuffed to bits” at the news, describing Mr Williamson as “a principled, kind man who has worked so hard for the Labour party and his constituency.”

Ms Lee subsequently deleted what she described as her “hastily written post” because she did “not address the sensitivity of this case” and apologised “for any offence I have caused.”

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