Exclusive: Listen to Jewish student brand Chris Williamson ‘antisemitic’

Exclusive: Listen to Jewish student brand Chris Williamson ‘antisemitic’

Audio obtained by Jewish News of bitter exchange between unidentified student and MP

Chris Williamson MP
Chris Williamson MP

Suspended MP Chris Williamson clashed with a Jewish student at the University of Nottingham who accused him of being an “antisemite”, a leaked recording shows.

Williamson, who delivered a talk on British party politics on Friday despite student protests, delivered a fiery rant after being questioned by student Josh Lee.

In the audio recording obtained by Jewish News, Lee can be heard asking the MP whether he is the “most unlucky anti-racism campaigner or are you just an outright liar?”

The question, which drew a round of applause, prompted Williamson to suggest the student “come down here” to the front of the class, before a moderator intervened.

The recording shows Williamson told students “I will take no lectures from people who attack my credentials as an anti-racism campaigner.

“When I was young man in the 1970s as an apprentice brick-layer on building sites, I risked my personal safety. I nearly got my head kicked in on a few occasions for challenging racists.

“I have the scars to prove it, so don’t come here and accuse me of being an antisemite or a racist. It’s an absolute slur.”

Later, Williamson defended expelled Labour member Jackie Walker, describing her as a “black Jewish woman who spent her life fighting racism.”

Another student, who did not wish to be named but was sitting in the audience, said the event was a “bit intimidating” and unexpectedly “intense.”

“I think most people were quite supportive of the boy who asked the question. Everyone clapped at the end and he got a lot of support,” the student added.

The Union of Jewish Students, which called for the event to be cancelled, said on Friday it was “inappropriate” for  for the university to host Williamson “in this format.”
“The Jewish students who attended in order to challenge Mr Williamson’s record should be applauded for exposing him to the rest of the audience. We will continue to work with universities to ensure that they improve in balancing free speech against the welfare of students,” the union said.

Williamson tweeted on Friday it was “great to give another lecture at the Uni of Nottingham this year as part of @johnbhess‘s series with different politicians.”

Noting “attempts by malcontents to shut down this lecture, and one abusive intervention” he added: ” I delivered the entire lecture and answered several engaging questions relating to #MMT [Modern Monetary Theory], the Winter of Discontent and how well socialism has worked around the world.”

The MP, who denies allegations of antisemitism, was first suspended after claiming Labour had been “too apologetic” on the issue.

The Derby North MP lost his court battle to be reinstated on Thursday afternoon. The High Court ruled that his re-suspension in June was “unlawful” but that subsequent disciplinary action should run its course.

Chris Williamson was contacted for comment.

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