Jeremy Corbyn is coming under mounting pressure to sack Chris Williamson from the party as a key ally of the Labour leader said the MP “has to go”.
Jon Lansman, the founder of the grassroots Momentum group, said Mr Williamson had not shown “one iota of contrition” after saying the party had been “too apologetic” in the face of criticism of the way it dealt with anti-Semitism within its ranks.
The Derby North MP – a strong supporter of Mr Corbyn – was controversially readmitted to the party on Wednesday after being issued with a formal warning by a National Executive Committee (NEC) anti-Semitism panel.
The decision produced a furious backlash, with more than 120 Labour MPs and peers led by deputy leader Tom Watson demanding Mr Corbyn step in to withdraw the Labour whip.
They were backed by Mr Lansman – one of Mr Corbyn’s oldest allies – who accused Mr Williamson of showing “contempt” for the panel’s ruling after he tweeted that he had received an “avalanche” of support from grassroots members.
In response, Mr Lansman tweeted: “This tweet reveals not one iota of contrition nor any acknowledgement of wrongdoing following a further formal warning from the Labour Party for behaviour grossly detrimental to the party. Such contempt for the party’s verdict! He has to go!”
This tweet reveals not one iota of contrition nor any acknowledgement of wrongdoing following a further formal warning from the Labour Party for behaviour grossly detrimental to the party. Such contempt for the Party’s verdict! He has to go! https://t.co/f9E0MelrZK
— Jon Lansman (@jonlansman) June 27, 2019
A Labour source insisted that Mr Corbyn was not involved in the party’s disciplinary processes or individual cases.
“It would be wholly inappropriate for a leader to pick and choose cases in the way that is being demanded,” the source said.
“Several of the MPs who have signed (Mr Watson’s statement) have in the past argued against political interference.”