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Labour NEC's ruling on Williamson sets dangerous precedent ‘for those who stand for justice for Palestine,’ Jewish activists say

CHRIS WILLIAMSON has resigned from the Labour Party and announced he will be seeking re-election in Derby North as an independent candidate in the general election next month.

The announcement comes after the party’s national executive committee (NEC) ruled on Wednesday that they would not endorse him as a Labour candidate for the constituency.

Jewish Voice for Labour told the Star that the decision was a “dangerous development for everyone who stands for justice for Palestinians and for democracy and freedom of expression in Britain, including within Labour.”

Mr Williamson was suspended for saying that Labour was “too apologetic” in response to criticism of its handling of anti-semitism allegations.

He was reinstated in June but was suspended again after backlash from some MPs, peers and Jewish groups.

Last month Mr Williamson lost a High Court bid to be reinstated, but the judge also ruled that Labour had acted unlawfully when it reopened the disciplinary case against him.

On Wednesday evening, he tweeted: “After almost 44 years of loyal service and commitment, it’s with a heavy heart that I’m resigning from the Labour Party.”

In his letter to Labour general secretary Jennie Formby, Mr Williamson wrote that he was “dismayed” that party officials have “executed” a “witch-hunt” against anti-zionist members led by “those who shroud themselves in the banner of socialism.”

He added: “It appears that you and others share my belief that the anti-semitism smears against Labour Party activists, candidates and MPs are unfounded.

“Two weeks before you took the decision to suspend me in February, we met in Parliament and you revealed that the real reason for the Parliamentary Labour Party’s venom against me was my advocacy for open selection, a primary system that would allow grassroots members to decide who should stand for Parliament before every election.”

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