Jeremy Corbyn defends 'Jew-baiter' MP Chris Williamson, saying he is 'not antisemitic'

The Labour leader called the Derby politician - who signed a petition defending a notorious antisemite - a 'strong anti-racist campaigner'


GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 22: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn meets with asylum seeker brothers Somer Umeed and Areeb Umeed at Possilpark Parish Church on August 22, 2018 in Glasgow, Scotland. Jeremy Corbyn met with asylum seeker families in Glasgow threatened with eviction by Serco and called for such services to be delivered by public bodies. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has defended controversial MP Chris Williamson, saying the backbencher is an “anti-racist campaigner” and "not antisemitic".

Mr Williamson was branded a "Jew baiter" in December after signing a petition defending notorious antisemite Gilad Atzmon.

In October, on the day of the Pittsburgh synagogue terrorist attack, he posted a Twitter message attacking the Board of Deputies.

The Derby MP has called accusations of antisemitism within the Labour Party "smears", and the Jewish Labour Movement called for him to be suspended from the party.

But speaking to local paper Derbyshire Live, Mr Corbyn said: “Chris Williamson is a very good, very effective Labour MP. He’s a very strong anti-racist campaigner. He is not antisemitic in any way.”

Mr Williamson has also defended former Labour member Scott Nelson, who was expelled from the party after tweeting about “Jewish companies” with “Jewish blood…exploiting workers abroad”.

After initially denying that Mr Nelson had made such comments, describing them as “smears”, he then said Mr Nelson “repeatedly apologised for those comments. He is opposed to all forms of racism and bigotry… please give him a chance.”

In November 2017 Mr Williamson shared on social media a notorious faked Nelson Mandela quote that compared Israel to apartheid-era South Africa.

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