Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

CORBYN TOLD TO AXE MP IN 'HATE' STORM; LEADER 'MUST ACT OVER ALLY WHO SAID PARTY WAS TOO APOLOGETIC OVER ANTI-SEMITISM' May: Perhaps If the Labour Leader Wanted to Take Action against Racism, He Would Suspend the Derby North MP

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

CORBYN TOLD TO AXE MP IN 'HATE' STORM; LEADER 'MUST ACT OVER ALLY WHO SAID PARTY WAS TOO APOLOGETIC OVER ANTI-SEMITISM' May: Perhaps If the Labour Leader Wanted to Take Action against Racism, He Would Suspend the Derby North MP

Article excerpt

Byline: Kate Proctor Political Reporter

JEREMY CORBYN today came under growing pressure to kick a close ally out of Labour for saying the party had been "too apologetic" over anti-Semitism in its ranks.

The dismissive comment by Left-wing MP Chris Williamson triggered a torrent of anger from party grandees. Former leader Ed Miliband said his words brought Labour "into disrepute", while deputy leader Tom Watson demanded that Mr Williamson be suspended.

Despite calls for his suspension or expulsion by at least a dozen MPs and senior figures, including London Mayor Sadiq Khan and a trade union leader, there was no immediate announcement of tough action from Mr Corbyn. Mr Williamson said he deeply regretted his words and apologised.

At Prime Minister's Questions, Theresa May piled the pressure on Mr Corbyn to act.

"Perhaps if the Labour leader actually wanted to take action against racism, he would suspend the MP for Derby North [Mr Williamson]," she said. "You can never be too apologetic about anti-Semitism.

"I think what we heard sums up Labour under their Continued on Page 5 Continued from Page 1 leader: they lose the honourable member for Liverpool Wavertree [Jewish MP Luciana Berger] and they keep the member for Derby North. That tells you all you need to know about the Labour leadership: present but not involved."

Mr Williamson sparked controversy when he was filmed making the remarks at an event hosted by the Corbynite group Momentum. He was applauded by the audience in Sheffield when he played down the crisis in the party caused by anti-Semitic attacks by Labour supporters on Jewish MPs and members.

Mr Williamson claimed the Labour Party was being "demonised as a racist party" and had "given too much ground" to its critics.

A Labour spokesman said: "These comments are deeply offensive and inappropriate and fall below the standards we expect of MPs. …

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