Labour anti-Semitism row: Chris Williamson allowed back into party

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Chris Williamson was suspended from the Labour Party in February

An MP has been allowed back into Labour after an investigation into comments he made about the party’s handling of anti-Semitism allegations.

Chris Williamson, MP for Derby North, was suspended in February after saying Labour had been “too apologetic” in the face of criticism on the issue.

A Labour source said Mr Williamson was found to have breached party rules and was given a formal sanction.

They said he could face further action if he repeats any similar behaviour.

A Labour spokesperson said the party took all complaints “extremely seriously”, but they could not comment on individual cases.

After the suspension, Mr Williamson – who is a close ally of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn – said he did not want anyone to think he was “minimising the cancer of anti-Semitism”, and was “absolutely determined” to clear his name.

The national chair of the Jewish Labour Movement, Mike Katz, said the decision “stinks” and showed the “moral turpitude” the party was in.

He added: “How dare the Labour Party deny it is institutionally racist against Jews when it decides to take no action against Chris Williamson?”

Labour MP Margaret Hodge also condemned the decision as “unbelievable”, and said the party was “turning a blind eye to Jew-hate”.

“This shows that the complaints process is a complete sham,” she tweeted. “This is not zero tolerance. Every decent Labour Party member must challenge this.”

‘Red lines’

The row erupted after footage of Mr Williamson was published by the Yorkshire Post, showing him telling activists that Labour had “given too much ground” over allegations of anti-Semitism and was being “demonised as a racist, bigoted party”.

The comments came just a week after nine Labour MPs quit the party, citing anti-Semitism as one of the main reasons for the move.

One of those MPs, Chris Leslie – who is now an MP for Change UK – tweeted his reaction to Mr Williamson’s re-admission with the hashtag: “#EnoughIsEnough”.

He added: “How many more red lines will be laid down by sensible Labour MPs, only for the leadership to trample right over them? Just what will it take?”

Independent MP Ian Austin, who also quit the party in the same week in protest at Mr Corbyn’s leadership, said it was a “complete disgrace” to let Mr Williamson back in with just a warning after he had “caused huge offence to Jewish people”.

He added: “This shows the extent to which a party which had such a proud record of fighting racism has been poisoned under Jeremy Corbyn.

“The only question is when decent Labour MPs will finally say enough is enough and do something about it.”