London Labour Students condemns local constituency Labour party for hosting 'apologist' Chris Williamson

The statement was signed by five London university Labour clubs and agreed to by two more


The London branch of the Labour Students organisation has “wholeheartedly condemned” their local Labour party's decision to host MP Chris Williamson, accusing him of "apologism" for antisemitism.

In a joint statement, signed by London Labour Students and Labour societies from five universities, the Cities of London & Westminster constituency Labour party (CLP) was “strongly urged to withdraw their invitation” to the MP, who is due to speak on Tuesday night.

The group said that neither Labour's candidate for the constituency nor any member of the CLP's executive committee "attended a meeting to air our concerns".

“We stand in solidarity with the vast majority of Jewish community groups as well as the Jewish Labour Movement," the joint statement added, accusing him of "apologism”.

The meeting on Monday night followed a statement by three London university Labour societies last week – University College London, the London School of Economics and Birkbeck – saying they would no longer campaign for the CLP unless it withdrew the invitation was withdrawn.

The latest statement was signed by all three societies, as well as those from the University of Westminster and Imperial College London.

London Labour Students subsequently announced that the Labour socieites from Kings College and the Royal Holloway University had also agreed with the statement. 

Earlier this year, Mr Williamson, the MP for Derby North, defended Scott Nelson, who was expelled from the party after tweeting about “workers abroad being exploited” by “Jewish companies” with “Jewish blood”.

Mr Williamson originally dismissed the accusations against Mr Nelson as “smears” when a Twitter follower told him about them.

When shown the evidence, the MP then said: “[Mr Nelson] has repeatedly apologised for those comments. He is opposed to all forms of racism and bigotry… please give him a chance.”

Mr Williamson also defended suspended Labour member Jackie Walker, who claimed that “many Jews… were chief financiers of the slave trade”, and publicly supported Pete Willsman, a senior member of the party, after the JC published a recording of him ranting about how Jewish people were "Trump fanatics and all the rest of it" at a Labour NEC meeting.

Requests from the Jewish Labour Movement for the party to withdraw the whip from Mr Williamson have been ignored.

Jewish Voice for Labour, the fringe, pro-Corbyn group that often clashes with JLM, backed Mr Williamson, calling on “Labour-supporting students to resist attempts to enlist them in divisive and damaging attempts to harm leading supporters of party leader Jeremy Corbyn".

JVL said it “urges students wanting to support the anti-racist movement backing Jeremy Corbyn’s socialist politics to embrace doughty fighters for equality and justice such as Chris Williamson.”

This statement was itself condemned by Jewish students.

The president of Sheffield university’s Jewish society Gabe Milne said: “I am proud to lead a JSoc that stood up against Chris Williamson. We received support from a wide range of Jewish and Labour voices - both Zionist and anti-Zionist.

“Jewish Voice for Labour have again betrayed us and our community at large by choosing to defend him.”

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive