THERE IS NO BAN! We hear that in a number of branches and CLPs, the chair has prevented the meeting from discussing motions in support of Chris, because of apparent recent advice by Labour HQ. We have produced detailed guidelines on this issue here.
Model motion 1
Don’t expel Chris Williamson MP from the Labour Party
1. Notes the personal statement from Chris Williamson (February 27, published in full below).
2. Is opposed to all forms of anti-Semitism and racism.
3. Does not believe Chris Williamson MP should be expelled from the Labour Party.
APPENDIX/NOTE: Chris Williamson’s personal message.
The Labour Party is an anti-racist party. It is the only party that has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with religious and ethnic minorities in their decades-long fight against racism, discrimination and prejudice in the United Kingdom.
On a personal level, I have been an anti-racist all my life. As a former member of the Anti-Nazi League. I participated in direct action to confront foul anti-Semites in the streets. I reject racism ethically and morally. It has no place in the Labour Party or in our country.
It pains me greatly, therefore, that anyone should believe that it is my intention to minimise the cancerous and pernicious nature of anti-Semitism.
I deeply regret, and apologise for, my recent choice of words when speaking about how the Labour Party has responded to the ongoing fight against anti-Semitism inside of our party. I was trying to stress how much the party has done to tackle anti-Semitism.
Our movement can never be “too apologetic” about racism within our ranks. Whilst it is true that there have been very few cases of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party – something I believe is often forgotten when discussing this issue – it is also true that those few are too many.
It is precisely because of our party’s historic struggle against racism that we have taken it upon ourselves to strengthen our rules, to improve our disciplinary procedures and to redouble our efforts to take on anti-Semites. We have held ourselves to a higher standard than any other political party when it comes to anti-racism – and rightly so.
I am therefore sorry for how I chose to express myself on this issue within our party. This is a fight that I want to be an ally in.
In future, I will take it upon myself to be more considered in my remarks. and ensure they reflect the Labour Party’s unswerving and unfaltering commitment to anti-racism and the fight against anti-Semitism.
Model motion 2
This Constituency 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.
- Despite the departure of Iain McNicol as general secretary, the witch-hunt of left-leaning party members continues. The main target of this campaign is, of course, Jeremy Corbyn himself. But thousands of Labour Party members have been investigated, suspended and expelled, often on spurious grounds. Like Chris Williamson, they are the collateral damage in this campaign to ‘get’ Corbyn.
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. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Write a letter of support to Chris Williamson MP (email@example.com)
- Invite Chris Williamson to a local rally/meeting in support of his reinstatement
- Support the key aims of Labour Against the Witchhunt: 1) An end to automatic suspensions and expulsions. 2) Rejection of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, which conflates anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism and support for the rights of the Palestinian people. 3) Abolition of Labour’s ‘compliance unit.’ (http://www.labouragainstthewitchhunt.org/contact/)
- Affiliate to Labour Against the Witchhunt (LAW) at the soonest possible opportunity and include a statement of support for LAW on this CLP’s social media channels and website. (Cost £25 pa)
- Campaign to reverse the NEC’s decision to adopt the disputed ‘definition of anti-Semitism’ published by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)
- Work to arrange a local screening of the “The Witchhunt” documentary https://witchhuntfilm.org)
Model motion 3
This branch/CLP notes with concern the use of the term (as attributed in the media to a Labour spokesman) “downplaying” anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.
We believe that of course the Labour Party should combat all forms of racism.
However, accusations of “downplaying” anti-Semitism (or worse placing it on a par with anti-Semitism itself) have the potential to inhibit the freedom of all Labour Party members to discuss the issues relating to racism in the Party. They should for example be able to:
- Challenge the assertion that the Labour Party is institutionally anti-Semitic. This has been repeated so many times that it has become established fact, despite the conclusions of the Chakrabati report and an all-party Home Affairs Select Committee that anti-Semitism and other types of racism are not endemic within Labour
- Question whether the characterisation of the Labour Party as a racist organisation is fair or even in some cases politically motivated
- Judge based on the data the extent of antisemitism in the Labour Party and whether the Party’s procedures and actions are effective and proportionate
- Discuss whether the Party’s adoption of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is appropriate
- Speak out on cases of injustice within the Labour Party
- Resist any curbs on legitimate freedom of speech and any move towards a culture of denunciation
This branch/CLP therefore moves to:
- Write to Jennie Formby (Labour Party General Secretary) and Shami Chakrabarti (Shadow Attorney General) with a copy of this motion
- Submit this motion to local Constituency Labour Parties as necessary