Chris Williamson quits Labour frontbench

Lester Mason
January 13, 2018

In August, discussing rows over Mr Corbyn's handling of anti-Semitism in the party, Mr Williamson told The Guardian: "Many people in the Jewish community are appalled by what they see as the weaponisation of anti-Semitism for political ends".

Labour MP Wes Streeting said Mr Williamson should have been sacked "a long time ago" for his views on anti-Semitism.

Mr Corbyn said: "I am pleased to make these appointments to strengthen Labour's frontbench team, which is now a Government in waiting".

"I know that on the backbenches, Chris will be a strong campaigner on a range of crucial issues as well as serving his constituents with dedication", he added.

Under Mr Williamson's council tax initiative, the levy could be frozen for properties in Bands A to C, with a progressive rise after that leading to a 20% increase for Band D homes valued between £68,000 to £88,000, and a 100% hike for Band H ones worth more than £320,000.

Asked if he was still on good terms with Mr Corbyn, the MP said: "Let me be clear, Jeremy Corbyn is a very close friend of mine, a good comrade and in my view the best leader this party has ever had".

Matt Rodda, one of Wokingham's four MPs, has been appointed by Jeremy Corbyn to serve in Labour's front bench.

However it is not Labour policy and any council which wanted to go forward with such an increase would have to put the changes to a local referendum.

Labour MPs, he said, must "use 2018 to embrace the vibrancy of this movement and welcome greater democracy to this party".

Mr Williamson told the Huffington Post his idea of increasing council tax was a "desperate" attempt to stop "relentless" spending cuts. It's a reaction to an emergency that local government has been placed in'. Obviously it would be up to the local area. I can understand the anxiety because it would no doubt attract a lot of adverse publicity.

However he acknowledged it would be hard to convince better-off voters to back such a change.

The Conservatives said he was "forced out" having "exposed Labour's plans".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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