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Labour councillor who backed disgraced Chris Williamson dropped from candidate

A Labour councillor who previously called for disgraced former MP Chris Williamson to be reinstated to the party has been dropped from a candidate list for the Derby North seat.

Councillor Nadine Peatfield said she was “reaching out to the Jewish Labour Movement” after confirming she fully accepted the party’s decision to bring a halt to campaign to become the constituency candidate.

Addressing her decision to sign a historic open letter in support of Williamson, who repeatedly attacked claims of antisemitism in the party under Jeremy Corbyn, Peatfield wrote:” It’s not something I’ve ever tried to hide, it was of its time and in that moment, an error of judgment.

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“I regretted signing the letter very soon afterwards as more information was revealed and I disassociated myself completely from that person from the moment of his second suspension.

Chris Williamson outside the Birmingham Civil Justice Centre where he lost his High Court bid to be reinstated to the Labour Party after he was suspended over allegations of anti-Semitism.

“For my misplaced support of the former MP and for any associated harm to the Jewish community caused by my words or actions related to that support, I apologise unreservedly.”

Social media posts had also shown how Peatfield, deputy leader of Derby Labour Group, had expressed support for Williamson in 2019, after an initial suspension against him had been dropped.

She wrote he was “welcome” back into local party “where he belongs.”

In 2017 posts Peatfield had written she was “part of Williamson’s “campaign” and described him as a “legend.”

Williamson was suspended from Labour in February 2019 after video footage showed him telling a meeting of Momentum that Labour’s reaction to antisemitism allegations had led to the party being “demonised”.

He also claimed he had celebrated the resignation of the Labour MP Joan Ryan.

Williamson was readmitted to the party and issued with a formal warning after a hearing of a national executive committee (NEC) antisemitism panel in June that year – prompting an outcry from MPs, peers and Jewish groups.

In September 2019 he was suspended again, after he claimed the party’s campaign against antisemitism was “politically motivated.”

Williamson – who has more recently made allegations about a “Zionist lobby” and defended conspiracy theorist rapper Lowkey, and backed sacked Bristol professor David Miller – later lost a legal challenge against the suspension.

Peatfield praised the impact of training on antisemitism she had received as part of Labour’s Future Candidates Programme.

She said:” Thanks to the training I now understand how playing down the presence of antisemitism in the Labour Party plays down the impact it has on any Jewish person or community who is a victim of it.

“I only truly grasped this when Ruth Smeeth MP explained her experience to us on the Programme. Until then I had no comprehension of the shocking lived experience of antisemitism through that time.

I will be reaching out to the Jewish Labour Movement. I have voluntarily informed MotheRed and returned the Grant they so generously awarded me, so that another Mum can benefit from the support.”

Derby North is currently held by the Tories on a slim majority. Williamson had lost the seat in 2015 to the Tories, before winning it back in 2017.

In 2019, the Conservative candidate Amanda Solloway won it back.

Williamson stood as an independent but lost his deposit, receiving a paltry 635 votes.

Source: Jewish News

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