Bedford and Kempston MP, Mohammad Yasin, has been forced to defend not signing a letter denouncing the decision to readmit Chris Williamson to the Labour Party.
In a tweet last week (28 June), the Conservative Perspective Parliamentary Candidate for Bedford and Kempston, Ryan Henson said:
- Disappointed to find the name of Bedford & Kempston’s MP missing from this letter. I stand with the 110 Labour Parliamentarians who wish to investigate the serious allegations of racism within their own party, @yasinmpbedford why won’t you join them?
Attached to the tweet was an image of the letter that had been signed by Labour Party MPs.
It asked for the decision to readmit Chris Williamson to the party to be overturned and he be referred to the National Constitutional Committee.
But Mr Yasin has said he couldn’t sign the letter because he didn’t know it was being circulated.
MP for North Derby, Chris Williamson was suspended from the party back in February amid the anti-semitism rows currently plaguing the Labour party.
Williamson was readmitted last Wednesday after it was ruled by a national executive panel that he should only be reprimanded.
But a backlash by MPs and other party members, including the letter denouncing the decision, led to a u-turn with Williamson being suspended again.
After the second suspension, he tweeted himself: “…I’m naturally concerned by the lack of due process and consistency in how my case is being handled. I’ve been a loyal Labour member for 43 years, and will do my utmost to fight for my membership.”
Mr Yasin has now been asked publicly why he didn’t add his name to the statement.
“In order to have signed the letter I would need to have been aware that it was circulating, and I was not,” said, Mr Yasin.
“I did not in any sense take a decision not to stand with those who opposed Chris Williamson’s reinstatement.
“That said he has been re-suspended pending a proper investigation into his comments and conduct, so the letter had the intended effect.
“My personal view is that the party should implement a completely independent review process.”
The BBC reports that a source says Labour’s general secretary Jennie Formby has written to the National Executive Committee informing them of issues with the investigation raised by Labour MP Keith Vaz, and his concerns will be on the agenda for its next disputes committee meeting.
“Under the party’s rule book, the general secretary and the leader of the party cannot overturn decisions made by NEC panels, which are advised by independent barristers. Only the NEC has the power to do so,” the source said.