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Labour Anti-Semitism: MP Says They Have Been "Too Apologetic"
27 February 2019, 11:55 | Updated: 27 February 2019, 13:02
Labour's Deputy Leader Tom Watson has called for MP Chris Williamson to have the whip suspended after he said the party had been "too apologetic" over allegations of anti-Semitism.
Footage from the Momentum meeting in Sheffield showed Mr Williamson, who is a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn, saying Labour had been "demonised as a racist, bigoted party".
Speaking at the event, Mr Williamson said: "The party that has done more to stand up to racism is now being demonised as a racist, bigoted party.
"I have got to say I think our party's response has been partly responsible for that because in my opinion… we have backed off far too much, we have given too much ground, we have been too apologetic."
As the audience applauded, he went on to say: "We've done more to address the scourge of anti-Semitism than any political party."
Deputy leader Tom Watson said Mr Williamson has brought Labour into disrepute over the remarks, which he labelled "deliberately inflammatory". He is writing to the Chief Whip to ask for the whip to be suspended.
Former leader Ed Miliband tweeted: "Chris Williamson is bringing the Labour party into disrepute over anti-semitism. This is a test of seriousness on our part about the whole issue. Disciplinary action, not simply an apology, is required."
Chris Williamson is bringing the Labour party into disrepute over anti-semitism. This is a test of seriousness on our part about the whole issue. Disciplinary action, not simply an apology, is required.— Ed Miliband (@Ed_Miliband) February 27, 2019
A Labour spokesman said: "These comments are deeply offensive and inappropriate, and fall below the standards we expect of MPs.
"Downplaying the problem of anti-Semitism makes it harder for us to tackle it. Chris Williamson should apologise immediately and withdraw his remarks."
Mr Williamson has now apologised for his remarks.
A personal message and sincere apology from me regarding my recent remarks on anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. pic.twitter.com/2qaNCOVqGk— Chris Williamson MP #GTTO (@DerbyChrisW) February 27, 2019