Don’t let the media fool you. Chris Williamson got a big win in the High Court today.

Chris Williamson
Tracy Keeling

After being suspended not once but twice from the Labour Party, Chris Williamson has had his day in court. And the anti-apartheid MP was vindicated, as the judge ruled the party’s initial re-suspension of the MP was unlawful.

That’s not, however, the way the mainstream press is making it sound.

Suspension

The party first suspended Williamson in February, over comments he made about its handling of complaints about alleged antisemitism. The party readmitted the MP on 26 June after he submitted evidence to the National Executive Committee (NEC). Then followed a furious backlash from some Labour MPs, and the party removed the whip from him again on 28 June. Another suspension came on 3 September, over separate claims of misconduct.

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Williamson took action in the courts against his suspension. And on 10 October, the verdict came in:

The judge didn’t consider the party to be acting “unfairly or other than in good faith” in regards to the September suspension and thus ‘refused relief’, saying:

The new disciplinary case must run its course.

So Williamson remains suspended from the party due to those allegations. But the judge did find the two previous suspensions to be unfair – humiliatingly so for the Labour Party.

“Illegitimate”

Williamson has responded to the judgement. In a statement, he said:

Today, Mr Justice Pepperall has handed down his judgment relating to my illegitimate re-suspension from the Labour Party on June 28th, and it is a clear victory for justice and due process.

I never wanted to take legal action against my own party.

I’ve been a proud and loyal Labour Party member for nearly 44 years. However, today’s judgment has proven that the party’s disciplinary processes are unfair, unfit for purpose, and subject to external manipulation by forces hostile to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

In fact, the party’s decision was so unfair as to be unlawful. And that’s why that suspension has been quashed, and all of the allegations presented in that suspension can no longer be pursued against me.

‘Labour bureaucracy pandering to the party’s opponents’

Williamson also had some choice words for the Labour Party “bureaucracy”:

The party bureaucracy has gone out of its way to pander to those who would be glad to see Labour’s demise.

As a consequence, they have victimised hundreds of lifelong members – loyal supporters of Jeremy Corbyn and his leadership. And they have suspended and expelled many without due process.

It is untenable for the Labour Party bureaucracy to shroud itself in the anti-racist credentials that some of us earned on the streets, while it systematically expels and suspends the most consistent and credible anti-racist activists from this party.

On the September suspension, Williamson said:

A week prior to my court hearing, using every loophole in the book, the party bureaucracy issued me with a new suspension, based on a series of preposterous allegations that I answered fully and swiftly.

It is because of this that, despite winning today, I am currently suspended from the Labour Party.

The MP called for his suspension to “be lifted”, but said:

I will be focussing my energies, as we all should, on winning the next election. Because a Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour government could transform the lives of millions, by bringing about an irreversible shift in the balance of wealth power and income in our country.

“We shall overcome”

During the course of these suspensions, Williamson has received support from many quarters. In July, a poll by LabourList found overwhelming support among the party’s grassroots for his reinstatement. That same month, over 100 members of the Jewish community, including Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein, signed a letter of support for Williamson. In that letter, they addressed the reason for Labour’s initial suspension of the MP, writing:

Chris Williamson did not say that the party had been “too apologetic about antisemitism”, as has been widely misreported. He correctly stated that the Labour party has done more than any other party to combat the scourge of antisemitism and that, therefore, its stance should be less apologetic. Such attacks on Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters aim to undermine not only the Labour party’s leadership but also all pro-Palestinian members.

In his statement, Williamson thanked such supporters, saying:

You are the living proof that ‘unity is strength’. With solidarity, we shall overcome. Thank you.

With that solidarity, Williamson has certainly overcome numerous attacks on him in this High Court judgement; even though Britain’s media is describing it as a loss.

Featured image via goingundergroundRT/YouTube

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  • Show Comments
    1. Labour received a huge influx of new members when Mr Corbyn became leader. I was among them. I assume that many thought as I do: enough is enough of neo-liberalism and the evils it has brought about. Perhaps most, those such as I, are not natural ‘born into’ Labour members of the party. We bring a broader perspective and are not in the least interested in anachronistic Labour Party concerns and doctrine.

      We will not allow ourselves to be dragooned into voting for monkeys put forth by the party’s labyrinthine apparatus and vested interest pressure groups. Attempts to manipulate choice through candidate lists rigged for a particular sex, ethnicity, or, in present day lunacy, ‘gender/sexuality’ group, shall receive short shrift. What’s required is candidates with experience of life, natural intelligence (even if untutored), grasp of current social/economic malaise, and motivation beyond self-interest. Such can arise from either sex and from any ethnic group but not from people beating the drum for a single cause.

      Williamson’s travails and how they are resolved have emerged as litmus test for Labour’s credibility. The antisemitism witch hunt must cease immediately. Its nonsense must unequivocally be disavowed by the leadership team. There must be robust future responses to attempts by people opposed to Labour’s principles (including the Blairite faction) to blacken the party, its leader, and its members. No longer must cynically offered bait from devious operators be risen to. Labour must set the stage for public discussion rather than react to agendas constructed by others.

      On the bright side, there really is prospect of a radical 1945-style government to turn back neo-liberalism and restore societal aims/values (abandoned by Mrs Thatcher and all thereafter) to the centre of social, economic, and foreign policy discussion.

    2. Spot on Smythe-Mogg. Could not agree more, alas I fear these Blairite Tory infiltrators will cost us the election we desperately need to win for the many.
      “The party bureaucracy has gone out of its way to pander to those who would be glad to see Labour’s demise.” and Chris is not wrong.

    3. I’m glad Chris Williamson’s case has at least in part been upheld. However, I do despair when I read and hear about the different fractions within the Labour Party. I wish we all had the discipline to just hold it together so we could at least win the next general election and get rid of the cesspit they call the Tory party! I live in hope

    4. Congratulations to Chris on his Court victory today, however, I fear it won’t be adequate to silence those within our movement who work to undermine the socialist renewal in Labour. These individuals have more in common with the Rees Moggs of society than with the working person who has suffered the violence of austerity for more than a decade.
      Neither, let us not be slow in calling out the external forces, including the State of Israel, who work tirelessly to undermine Corbyn and the socialist ideals on which our party was founded.
      Perhaps it is time to get all Labour Party candidates to publically endorse the Party manifesto before they are selected to run for Labour. There are those within the parliamentary party who are no more socialist than “Donald Trump” and know even less the reasons why Labour was founded, 1918.
      The founders, Keir Hardie, et al., who realised that without political power, the working class were never going to be listened to, or benefit from the wealth of the nation. That realisation was forged by the devastation, pain and suffering of WW1 and the disproportionate burden carried by the working class, millions of whom were sent to the trenches as cannon fodder, to die for a feudal society who valued their animals and land more than their human capital.
      Has 21st century Britain evolved to be the Great Society envisioned by those noble individuals who past down a Party for the working class? Where do we begin to return Labour to its founding socialist principles?

    5. The Party’s suspension of Williamson was “so unfair to be unlawful” which means the Tom Gang are outlaws deemed by the Court wearing the masquerade of respectable people. Openly debating in good faith with the support of democratic principals is something they are utterly devoid of.
      This fake antisemitic campaign has been a political move by whom? Who financed these witless Labour wonders to secede to their views..? An inquiry is needed to rout out these outlaws from their sheltered shadows.
      I’m sure they haven’t gone away for a holiday, and intend to keep haunting the Labour Party’s humanitarian views forever.
      Who are they???

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