Durham councillors back Labour antisemitism letter

An open letter calling on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to take action on allegations on anti-semitism has been backed by North East councillors.

Friday, 28th June 2019, 17:19 pm
Updated Friday, 28th June 2019, 18:31 pm
County Hall, the headquarters of Durham County Council.

According to its organisers, least six elected members of the region’s local authorities have backed the call for action to be taken over the ‘reputationally damaging’ decision to re-admit Chris Williamson to the party.

The MP for Derby North was suspended in February following comments he made about Labour’s handling of anti-semitism complaints – a week after nine Labour MPs quit the party, blaming anti-Semitism for their decision.

One of the letter’s supporters is Durham County Council’s Jude Grant, who represents Trimdon and Thornley.

“It’s hard to be in our communities telling people the good things the Labour Party can do when these [things are going on in the background],” she said.

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“Sometimes there’s an issue where you have to take a stand and this is one of them.”

The letter was started by Jack Deakin, a councillor for North Warwickshire Borough Council on June 27, who, at the time of writing, claimed it had attracted almost 300 signatures from Labour councillors across the country.

A former Jeremy Corbyn supporter, who previously backed the Islington North MP for Labour Party leader and is a former member of the grassroots Momentum group, he said he wanted to see the party whip withdrawn from Williamson and for Corbyn to resign as leader.

The letter claims the disciplinary process against Williamson ‘remains mired by the appearance of political interference’ and calls for the case against Williamson to be referred to the party’s ruling National Constitutional Committee as well as for Corbyn to request the decision to re-admit Williamson be overturned.

He added: “I think people in positions of leadership should be doing more and that includes councillors.

“They’re elected and I think they have a responsibility to the Labour Party to do more to challenge the hard left and anti-semitism in the Labour Party.”

When contacted, a spokesman for Chris Williamson’s office said the MP was ‘not making comment at this point in time’,

Labour North has been contacted for comment.