Poll: Majority of British Labour Party Supporters Back Readmission of MP at Heart of Latest Antisemitism Scandal
A poll of readers of a British political website with close links to the Labour Party has revealed that a decisive number of the party’s backers were supportive of its decision last week to readmit controversial parliamentarian Chris Williamson.
The MP for the Derby North constituency in central England had been suspended in February after declaring at a public meeting that Labour — led by Williamson’s close ally, Jeremy Corbyn — had been “too apologetic” over the antisemitism scandals that have rocked the party’s public reputation since Corbyn was elected leader in 2015. But on June 26, a three-person review panel rejected a recommendation by party officials to refer Williamson to the next stage of a disciplinary process.
In a poll of over 10,000 of its readers, the Labour List website — which operates independently of the party itself — revealed that 61 percent of respondents were in favor of Williamson’s readmission, with 31 percent of them opposed.
A vocal backer of the BDS campaign targeting Israel and a backer of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign — a group which advocates the elimination of the Jewish state — Williamson’s offenses include signing a petition in support of Gilad Atzmon, a notorious antisemite and former Israeli citizen who is based in the UK.
Williamson’s social media behavior has included approving retweets of posts by Sonia Mot — a Holocaust denier and an active defamer of the Talmud, the ancient body of Jewish religious law.
Meanwhile, at the House of Commons, Williamson used his privileges as an MP in 2018 to show a documentary by Jackie Walker, an activist who was expelled from Labour because of her antisemitic outbursts.
While a clear majority of Labour List readers supported Williamson despite his record of conflict with the Jewish community, the same poll showed the party bitterly divided over Brexit — the UK’s impending departure from the European Union, and the main issue dominating the country’s politics.
About one-third were in favor of the UK declaring its intention to remain in the EU, another third wanted to postpone the decision to a later date, while the final third expressed their support for Britain’s departure from the bloc, currently scheduled for Oct. 31.