The Guardian hits former 'Blairite' Chris Williamson where it hurts
Williamson is said to have 'changed dramatically' after he unexpectedly lost his seat in 2015.
It’s been a tough 24 hours for uber-Corbyite MP Chris Williamson. After the Yorkshire Post got hold of a film of Williamson telling activists that Labour had been "too apologetic" over anti-Semitism, there was understandably something of a furore that resulted in his suspension from Labour.
The backlash was led by former Labour MP Luciana Berger, who quit the party last week in protest at over what she described as “institutional anti-Semitism”. Retweeting the film, Berger said: 'This is what I have left behind. It's toxic. Our country deserves so much better.'
Louise Ellman, a Jewish MP who is rumoured to be considering leaving the party, said: ”Chris Williamson should be suspended immediately... This is a provocation too far.”
Even Corbyn's spokesman said the comments were “deeply offensive” and that “downplaying the problem of anti-Semitism makes it harder for us to tackle it”.
On the Peston show a few hours later, Lisa Nandy and West Streeting had a good old row with John McDonnell about the party’s handling of previous cases of anti-Semitism.
Over at the Daily Mail they turned to Andrew Pierce to do a hit job on Williamson. “The truth is that, wherever there’s an anti-Semitism scandal in the Labour Party, a whiff of Williamson is never far behind,” he wrote. “[BUT] Williamson’s skewed moral principles don’t just manifest themselves in his blinkered approach to Labour’s Jewish problem.”
But it was The Guardian who really hit Williamson where it hurt – by reminding people that he was once a dreaded Blairite.
“Williamson is a politician whose career has taken him from Blairite council leader who once briefly formed a coalition with the Tories, to Labour’s most controversial MP,” the piece by Dan Sabbagh stated.
“During his first spell as MP for Derby North, he was briefly a low-profile Ed Miliband loyalist. But those who have known him for years say Williamson changed dramatically after he unexpectedly lost his seat by 41 votes in 2015.”