Model Motion in support of Chris Williamson MP

Chris Williamson MP. Photo: Wikimedia

JVL Introduction

The Model Motion in support of Chris Williamson MP below is followed by a link to a Model motion on disciplinary procedures


 

Intro

JVL gives full support to Chris Williamson and calls on other CLPs and labour movement bodies to do so as well.  We  believe the attacks on Chris Williamson, despite his clear statement of support for the party’s work to deal with antisemitism, are not primarily about allegations against an individual but are part of an ongoing attack on the anti-austerity, anti-racist project which propelled Jeremy Corbyn into the leadership of the Labour Party.

We are at a critical juncture and support for Chris Williamson and many others under attack is essential to back the leadership in facing down this attack and to be able to focus on fighting the very real rise of the racist and antisemitic far right, and on preparing for a government that the ordinary people of this country desperately need.

We recommend that CLPs arrange showings of the film WitchHunt, which explores the background to the attacks on Corbyn.

We have already urged JVL  members and supporters to sign the petition Labour Party members in solidarity with Chris Williamson

Model Motion

This branch/CLP notes that:

  • Chris Williamson, Labour MP for Derby North, has been suspended from the Labour Party pending an investigation into a “pattern of behaviour”, following comments he made to the effect that Labour’s response to accusations of entrenched antisemitism had been unnecessarily defensive.
  • A number of Labour MPs labelled Williamson’s comments as antisemitic, and wrote to General Secretary Jennie Formby demanding that he be suspended.
  • Deputy Leader Tom Watson has unilaterally launched a parallel complaints investigations system, in order to “log and monitor” antisemitic abuse.
  • Labour Party General Secretary, Jennie Formby, has rebuked Tom Watson for his “absolutely inappropriate” actions.
  • Jeremy Corbyn describes Chris Williamson as “a very good, very effective Labour MP. He’s a very strong anti-racist campaigner. He is not anti-semitic in any way.”

This branch/CLP believes that:

  • The Labour Party is making a concerted effort to investigate cases of antisemitism that are reported to it and take appropriate action.

This branch/CLP calls on the Labour National Executive Committee to:

  • Condemn the Labour MPs attempting to prejudice investigations through the Labour Party’s proper processes and procedures by publicly labelling individual members of the Labour Party, such as Chris Willliamson, as antisemitic and publicly applying pressure for those individuals to be suspended.
  • Investigate Tom Watson’s contravention of party rules in setting up a parallel system to monitor the Party’s complaints process.

This branch/CLP gives full support to Chris Williamson and calls on other CLPs and labour movement bodies to do so as well.


See also

Model motion on disciplinary procedures

 



Below are some of statements, motions and petitions previously cicrulated in support of Chris Williamson

From Derby Trade Council

Throughout Derby Chris Williamson is known as someone who stands up for working-class people, whatever their origins and ethnicity. We are proud to have him as our MP.

Chris has proven himself to be a fierce opponent of all forms of racism, including anti-semitism. He is outspoken and brave in this. As a young man in the 1970s he was an active member of the Anti-Nazi League, confronting the racists and anti-semites of the National Front wherever they raised their vile heads, and he has maintained the same position and active opposition to racism, anti-semitism and fascism ever since.

We should remember that Chris worked hard to spearhead the efforts to ensure Derby was one of the first local authorities to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.

What Chris said in Sheffield was that the evils of racism, anti-semitism and Islamophobia need to be fought and beaten wherever and whenever they appear, and that the Labour Party has done more than any other parliamentary party — and therefore should be not so apologetic about its performance in this regard — though of course there is always more to be done.

It is this that has been misinterpreted — deliberately so — by some who seek a stick to beat him with.

It is an absolute absurdity and vile travesty to level the charge of anti-semitism at Chris and everyone in Derby knows it. As secretary of the Derby Area Trades Union Council I urge fair-minded Derby people to speak up for him, just as he speaks up bravely for all of us.

Chris stands for unity, solidarity and community cohesion. Those members of the Labour Party, particularly those MPs, who oppose the restoration of socialism in the leadership of the party have failed in their many attempts to reverse this.

So they have increasingly turned to distortions and smears against the leadership — including Chris Williamson, who is their target of the day. It is they who should apologise for their defamation of a decent man and an MP who really cares for his people, whatever their heritage and background.

Moz Greenshields
Secretary, Derby Area Trade Union


Reinstate Chris Williamson: Open Letter from Camden Momentum to Momentum NCG

In Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, the innocent Giles Corey is pressed to death by a large stone. As the stone is placed upon his chest, it is reported that Corey heroically calls for ‘more weight’ in order to make abundantly clear that he won’t admit any guilt in the face of spurious accusations that he had aided and abetted witchcraft.

Miller’s play is an allegory about McCarthyism. David Hearst, the Guardian’s former chief foreign leader writer, is surely right to say that the new McCarthyism is being mobilised to undermine Jeremy Corbyn. And now the witchhunt has claimed its latest victim in Chris Williamson, MP for Derby North.

This represents a clear and unprecedented escalation in the campaign of vilification and smears against Labour’s leadership and left-wing members. In truly Orwellian fashion, this latest ratcheting up of the smear campaign was set on foot because someone in Williamson’s office had booked a room for a parliamentary screening of Jon Pullman’s documentary film WitchHunt (endorsed by Mike Leigh, Ken Loach, Peter Kosminsky and Prof. Avi Shlaim). None of those MPs and others who complained against the screening can yet have seen the film, and yet they are willing to censor it.

The confected complaint made against Williamson concerns a speech he made at a meeting of Sheffield Momentum. Nothing about that speech deserves the suspension of the Labour whip, let alone suspension from the party. Jewish Voice for Labour have rightly pointed out that Williamson’s suspension is unjust and have called for it to be rescinded. Camden Momentum adds its voice to that call.

We also call upon Momentum’s NCG to release a statement arguing for Williamson’s immediate reinstatement, and we invite other Momentum groups to do likewise by contacting us here.

If it is not yet clear to Momentum’s leadership (and associated ‘left’ commentators) that the attacks on Chris Williamson are part of a long-running and coordinated attempt to undermine Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party, then we fear it never will be. We simply say: more weight.

Owen Holland and well over 30 others


http://tinyurl.com/yxszzyb5

Labour Party members in solidarity with Chris Williamson

To: Jennie Formby, General Secretary, the Labour Party
CC: Chris Williamson, MP Derby North

We are deeply concerned about the suspension of Chris Williamson MP for Derby North over allegations of ‘anti-Semitism’ after a recording of him speaking at a Momentum meeting was released recently. We stand in solidarity with Chris, who we fully expect to be cleared as soon as possible by Labour’s investigation – in line with our Labour core values of fairness and natural justice.

Many of the undersigned are members of Oxfordshire CLPs (Wantage, Henley, East Oxford and West Oxford & Abingdon). We have been delighted to welcome Chris to two local meetings this year. He has fitted these events into a busy schedule, being generous with his time and knowledge, speaking on subjects ranging from the impact of austerity cuts, the role of local government in delivering for the many, the current rise of fascism and how we can combat it, developments in South America, animal rights and Brexit. Chris is very clearly a committed anti-racist, working to support all oppressed groups – locally and internationally – demonstrating our Labour Party core values and principles. He is engaging, knowledgeable and extremely hard working, making time to speak at local political education meetings as well as national events about Labour policy and wider international issues with insight and clarity. As such, he is a credit and an asset to the Labour party. (See also the support for Chris in a recent statement by the Secretary of Derby Trades Council.)

Jeremy Corbyn recently said: “Chris Williamson is a very good, very effective Labour MP. He’s a very strong anti-racist campaigner. He is not anti-Semitic.” We agree with this description of Chris and believe that the allegations in question are unfounded and out of context.

Chris Williamson actually said: “The party that has done more to stand up to racism is now being demonised as a racist, bigoted party. I have got to say, I think our party’s response has been partly responsible for that because in my opinion… we’ve backed off far too much, we have given too much ground, we’ve been too apologetic… We’ve done more to address the scourge of anti-Semitism than any other party.”

These comments are neither anti-Semitic, nor denying the existence of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. He is simply expressing a sentiment that many of us have that we should not be overly apologetic for something we have not done, and in this case we have actively, as a party, worked tirelessly to ensure that anti-Semitism and all other forms of racism and bigotry are purged from our party, our movement, and our society as a whole.

Context – the facts shared recently by General Secretary Jennie Formby (and correct at the time of writing 01.03.19)

• Approximately 1,100 complaints were lodged between April 2018 and January 2019, but 433 (nearly 40 per cent) were found to relate to non-Labour Party members, which brought it down to 673. (That still leaves a problem in wider society though.)

• Of those complaints there was no evidence of a case to answer in 220 cases. That still leaves more than 400 members (out of approximately 550,000 — so around 0.07 per cent) who had expressed views concerning Jews that were judged as requiring further investigation and disciplinary action. Some received suspensions, others formal/written warnings about their behaviour, while just 12 were expelled.

• There are 24 cases that have reached the highest panel that remain outstanding, so that expulsion figure may well rise but not dramatically.

• There were two other statistics that seem important from Formby’s exemplary response: one is that 44 members quit Labour while their hearing was pending. That suggests that Labour is not at all a hospitable or comfortable place for anti-semites. It is likely that some of them knew they would be found out and they jumped before being pushed out. The other statistic relates to Margaret Hodge — who has personally submitted 200 of the complaints, but these were not about 200 separate individuals.

In this context, Chris Williamson’s comments in Sheffield make sense – but the context and statistics have not been widely reported or have been mis-reported.

We look forward to the Labour Party investigation moving speedily and expect that the outcome will lift his suspension and clear Chris’s name in good time for Chris to put his considerable energies and positivity into campaigning for Labour wins in the local elections in May.

In Solidarity!

*** Please note, there may be a short delay before your name appears in the list, please bear with us ? ***

1182 signatures at 21.24 on 3rd March 2019


Bristol East CLP

This Constituency notes with extreme concern the decision to suspend Chris Williamson from the party, and remove the whip.

We note also the statement in support of Chris from JVL, an organisation to which this constituency is affiliated, in which they, as Jewish members, make clear their belief that Chris has a long history of combatting anti-racism and anti-semitism and should not be regarded as an anti-Semite. We share their support for him.

This Constituency accepts that there is a level of genuine anti-semitism within the Labour Party, which must be rooted out, and the offenders dealt with appropriately. However, the figures recently released by Jennie Formby on the number of anti-semitism complaints received and the number proved to be well founded appear to support Chris Williamson’s position. They indicate that there are indeed people with anti-semitic views in the Labour Party, but they are statistically few and do not represent an all-encompassing problem.

Accordingly, this Constituency wishes to express its pride in the way that Jeremy Corbyn, Jennie Formby and other members of the NEC have acted in setup a process able to deal fairly with anti-Semitism complaints, and to resolve them within a reasonable time scale. We offer our whole hearted support for their efforts.

This constituency now calls on all members of the PLP to give recognition and praise to Jennie and members of the NEC for their work, acknowledge the level of Labour Party anti-Semitism discovered in objective reports and refrain from anecdotal hyperbole in their public pronouncements.


Park & Arbourthorne ward, Sheffield Heeley CLP

Passed February 28 2019 nem com

This Constituency (branch) Labour Party notes with great concern the suspension of Chris Williamson MP for Derby North.

The allegation that Chris is downplaying anti-Semitism is totally unfounded. His comments, made at a Momentum meeting in Sheffield, were taken out of context in a deliberate attempt to ruin both the reputation of Chris Williamson MP and Jeremy Corbyn.

Chris Williamson MP actually said: “The party that has done more to stand up to racism is now being demonised as a racist, bigoted party. I have got to say, I think our party’s response has been partly responsible for that because in my opinion… we’ve backed off far too much, we have given too much ground, we’ve been too apologetic… We’ve done more to address the scourge of anti-Semitism than any other party.”

His comments are clearly neither anti-Semitic, nor denying the existence of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party (as in wider society). But he does quite rightly point to the fact that there has also been a political campaign to “weaponise” accusations of anti-Semitism.

Chris is a target because he is one of the very few Labour MPs who have openly stood up to the witch-hunt of Corbyn supporters and because he has campaigned tirelessly for the much-needed democratisation of the party.

This Constituency Labour Party therefore moves to:
* Write to Jennie Formby, the general secretary, and the National Executive Committee with a copy of this motion and demanding that Chris is reinstated immediately.
* Write a letter of support to Chris Williamson MP


Emergency motion for Hastings & Rye GC, 28 Feb 2019 – passed with one against

This CLP offers our full support for Chris Williamson MP and  calls for his immediate, unconditional re-instatement to the Party.

We note that:

* Labour instigated the Royall and Chakrabarti inquiries, and
* appointed a new legal officer and extra staff dealing with complaints.
* On 10 February Jennie Formby released detailed findings as of then. Offenders against the tough new regime were a tiny fraction of Labour’s membership. After removing hundreds of non-members and dropping 220 complaints found to be “vexatious” and “exaggerated” that left 96 (0.01% of 1% of members) who were suspended; and just 12 were expelled (one 500th of 1% of the membership).

Instead of welcoming these figures, some who “love the party” but protested agaainst its alleged “institutional antisemitism” walked out, and their co-thinkers who stayed have launched outrageous slanders but have faced no charges for bringing the party into disrepute.

Chris Williamson rightly said Labour had “done more to address the scourge of antisemitism than any political party” and had nothing to apologise about. For that, he is suspended and will forthwith be marked out for slander.

This “crying wolf” could cause valid warnings of antisemitism to go un-heard and does no service to Jews. Such cheap exploitation as a political football is also deeply shameful.

We believe that this orchestrated campaign now rising to a crescendo with staged resignations alongside Brexit and a possible general election, suggests that accusations of antisemitism are being criminally mis-used in an unscrupulous bid to destroy the Corbyn-led Labour Party.

Send to:

Jennie Formby
Jeremy Corbyn
Chris Williamson

Comments (11)

  • Prof. Donald Sassoon says:

    I deplore the suspension of Chris Williamson. He said what I think.

  • Terence McGinity says:

    Regional Office has blocked any motions on ‘Individual Cases’ in my neck of the woods. I’ll have to submit something ‘acceptable’ but addresses what currently needs to be said. I’ll focus on the need for Natural Justice recommended by Chakrabati and condemn interference from some MPs in the process. Tricky!


    See this Model motion on disciplinary procedures for just such an entuality! – JVL Web

  • Terence McGinity says:

    Oh, great! Just seen the Motion for St. George’s ward branch. Looks good to me.

  • Terence McGinity says:

    Still waiting to see whether this Motion will be accepted. It is being currently deliberated over by Regional Office. And I didn’t even include the last bit about immediate ‘reinstatement’ to give it an easier ride. Seems more important than ever when Margaret Hodge could claim yesterday “I saw off Nick Griffin” (which she didn’t; the members did) and somehow implying that supporters of Chris Williamson (and other accused like Jackie Walker) may be equated with the BNP. And then concluding she would ‘just close down the Branches that passed motions supporting him’. It’s difficult to believe, isn’t it, that such undemocratic and confused (to put it mildly) thinking could be taken seriously. Sadly, the Media does.

  • Robert Grimes says:

    I agree with all that has been said above . Chris is not anti Semitic in any way.

  • Eric Miller says:

    Chris is not anti Semitic but “ he is a very naughty boy “

  • I am Jewish and an Israeli passport hoolder and I agree with Chris Williamson 100%. Criticism of Israel, Zionism, or even of Jews, is not and cannot be equated with anti-Semitism.

    Until the very end of her life, my mother, Ruth Kupferschmidt, remained hopeful about Israel, a country where she has family, friends, where she married and where she could breathe after being hidden throughout the war.

    Anyone who believes that we do not love Israel merely because we acknowledge its injustices and criticise its policies is a fool. To them I say, you do not get to dictate to me how I feel, or what I think. Noone has a right to interpret my words but me.

    Acknowledging the flaws, mistakes and crimes of the past is a way to move forward. It is easy to say: we were hurting, we were afraid, we made mistakes, sorry! Forgive us!

    Not so easy to forgive oneself though, for the foolish things we did in youthful haste. Israel, our fate, as Jews, is bound with yours whether we like it or not. But do not ask of us that we lie in your name! Do not ask of us that we look away!

    Peace can only come about through justice. We must do justice by the Palestinian people and that begins with reclaiming our response-ability as human beings, by acknowledging our mistakes and stating our sincere desire to repair the damage (as much as possible) rather that continuing down the path of destruction so as not to admit we made mistakes.

    What do you honestly think the spirits of those who died in Auschwitz and Treblinka would want? More war? More opressions and exoduses? More dead children? More corrupt politicians? More weapons of mass destruction? What would they say, if we allowed them to speak?

    This is why I oppose the occupation and this is why I support BDS.

  • I do not believe he said anything that could be classed as antisemitic, he has my full support and l believe it is Tom Watson and the remaining Blairites who should be kicked out of the party.

  • Derek bowskill says:

    I am like a lot of others annoyed by the constant interference of the so called party mps. They say they represent the party but this is nonsense.

  • william marshall says:

    Orwellian to suggest Chris is antisemitic!

  • Jamie Keepin says:

    I support chris. And back this motion

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