On 3 May, The Canary published an article looking at evidence from former Labour Party MP Chris Williamson that challenged his suspension from the organisation in February 2019. The Canary also spoke directly to the ex-MP recently about the Labour Leaks scandal. And we now reveal some key parts of the interview below.
For Williamson, the leaked report “shone a light on a very murky business”; and it showed the undermining of not only party democracy, but the country’s democracy too.
‘Making a mockery of democracy’
it’s a highly disturbing and deeply offensive report which doesn’t just make a mockery of the Labour Party democracy; it actually undermines the very foundations of British democracy.
I’m absolutely astonished that nobody has been suspended, let alone sacked, particularly when the Labour Party’s broken bureaucracy is suspending grassroots members on the flimsiest of evidence and based on absurd accusations. We’ve seen hundreds, if not thousands, of Labour Party members having their lives turned upside down by the very people who’ve been named in this report.
He then lamented that:
it seems that the Labour Party leader is more interested in trying to knock [action on the matter] into the long grass. And some of those people behind the accusations are threatening all sorts of actions against those that share the report, [and] claim that they could mount a libel case – indeed, make a case for breaking the data protection laws.
Treatment of anti-imperialists
Williamson is currently working on “building a grassroots, anti-imperialist working class movement”. According to an article by Phil Miller in Declassified UK, there was an effort by Labour Party officials to get rid of people who were opposed to war and imperialism. And Williamson stressed:
I don’t see a future for anti-imperialists in the Labour Party under the present regime, I’ve got to say. And it’s highly regrettable because, obviously, the Labour Party’s been one of the two major political parties in this country now for the last century. But it seems that they are very happy – many of the leading figures within the party – to cosy up to the military-industrial complex and to get into bed too readily with the United States of America. And I, obviously, want to see the country making a stand for peace, to really address the… imperialism that we’ve seen the United States engaging in – and indeed, of course, this country as well.
we have a lot more in common, ordinary working-class people in this country, with ordinary working-people all over the world. And… it’s a bit like the rallying cry ‘workers of the world unite!’ That’s what I think we need to try to do, to recognise things that unite us and to realise that by standing together in solidarity… we can build a better world. But if we rely on the elites, then I’m afraid that the status quo which has served us so badly will continue. And inequality will get worse, and the environmental degradation will continue apace. …
Labour elites “out of step” with both members and the country
Williamson also argued that:
we need a complete rethink, a complete reset, really, of our whole democratic structures.
the Parliamentary Labour Party [is] completely out of step, I think, with its grassroots members and out of step with the country as a whole. And we have … a democratic system which doesn’t really justify the term ‘democracy’ – because both parties are to a large extent two sides of the same coin – and doesn’t really offer a choice to the British public.
Fury over anti-socialist “sabotage”
Williamson also stressed that:
the revelations in the… Labour Party report [have] demonstrated that, when we had a leader and a programme which was going to break with that neoliberal consensus that’s stayed for the last 40 years, that they did their level best to sabotage it.
That’s why I say that this report doesn’t just make a mockery of Labour Party democracy. It actually strikes at the very heart of British democracy. And I think a lot of people, not just Labour Party members, will be absolutely furious about the revelations contained in them.
Featured image via Mohamed Elmaazi (with permission)