Sheffield students cancel Chris Williamson event amid police probe into party

Sheffield students cancel Chris Williamson event amid police probe into party

Community representatives accused the group of 'ignoring the concerns of Jewish students' after the controversial politician was asked

Chris Williamson MP
Chris Williamson MP

Sheffield Labour Students has cancelled an event it was due to host with controversial MP Chris Williamson, citing the new criminal investigation into antisemitism in the party.

Jewish representatives had earlier said the student group was “ignoring the concerns of Jewish students” on campus by inviting Williamson to speak, alongside Steven Bell from Stop the War.

In August, Jewish leaders called for Labour to take action against the MP for Derby North after he said antisemitism claims were “a dirty lowdown trick” used for “political ends”.

He had been due to speak at a talk titled ‘Why we need an anti-war Government,’ but in a statement posted to Twitter on Thursday, Sheffield Labour Students (SLS) said it had voted to postpone the event “indefinitely… until the current Scotland Yard police investigation into allegations of antisemitism has been resolved”.

They added: “Although Chris Williamson MP is not personally implicated by these allegations, SLS believes that due to the nature of the investigation calling into question the efficiency of the disciplinary procedures within the Party, and the current climate within the wider movement, we do not feel that the event should take place at this moment in time.”

The Union of Jewish Students (UJS) had earlier said it was “deeply concerned that SLS has decided to ignore the concerns of Jewish students on campus,” adding that Williamson “has repeatedly attacked Jewish communal organisations for calling out antisemitism and shared platforms with those expelled from the Labour Party over antisemitism”.

A UJS spokeswoman said the decision to invite Williamson “shows a total disregard to the legitimate concerns that the Jewish community have raised over antisemitism in the Labour Party” and “sends a strong message that antisemitism, and those that deny it, will be tolerated in a movement which claims to be anti-racist”.

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