Sheffield Labour Students cancel Chris Williamson visit as two committee members resign
They’ve cancelled the event after police launch investigation into anti-Semitism within the Labour Party
Sheffield Labour have cancelled an event Chris Williamson MP was due to speak at, with two committee members also resigning from their roles today.
The cancellation of Williamson's visit comes after it was announced police would be investigating allegations of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party.
Sheffield Labour Students (SLS) said although Williamson was not personally implicated in this investigation, the event was being postponed due to the "current climate within the wider movement".
They do plan, however, to take another vote after the investigation has been concluded on whether the event should take place.
A public post in the Sheffield Labour Students Discussion Group also announced the resignations of Co-chair Charlea Murphy and Political Events and Publicity Officer Caelan Read.
The Sheffield Tab revealed yesterday the society had voted to invite Williamson, the Labour MP for Derby North, to campus. Sheffield Jewish Society had asked SLS to withdraw Williamson's invitation, saying it was a "betrayal" of Jewish students at Sheffield.
The controversy surrounding Williamson includes describing the row over antisemitism in the Labour Partyas "proxy wars and bullshit".
This was the third vote the SLS committee held on whether to go ahead with the event. One committee member had previously described Williamson as "part of our movement", and another said "it will be a very good event".
Hi James –
Thanks for your tweet. The Committee is holding another vote in light of the police investigation. We will announce the outcome in a public statement as soon as every member has voted.
— Sheffield Labour Students (@ShefLabStudents) November 2, 2018
There had been a significant backlash in response to the announcement of the planned event with Williamson, which is a recreation of a Stop The War event that took place at Labour's national conference, focusing on Yemen.
Sheffield Jewish Society said: "We as a committee believe that Chris Williamson’s actions have encouraged a culture of anti-Semitism. As such, any society inviting him onto campus, for any reason, is a betrayal of Jewish students in Sheffield and the Jewish community as a whole."
The invitation faced heavy criticism online, including from students involved in Labour politics, described Sheffield Labour Students' original decision to host the MP as "outrageous" and "a disgrace".
— Luisa Attfield (@l_attfield) November 1, 2018
It is frankly outrageous that @ShefLabStudents have invited Chris Williamson. It flies in the face of the hard work that previous committees have done to work with @JewishLabour and @UJS_UK to create safe environments for Jewish members and a close relationship with the J-Soc https://t.co/OAQOImTk4M
— Liron Velleman (@vellstells) November 1, 2018
Sheffield Labour Students have also said they will hold an Extraordinary General Meeting to fill the vacant committee roles after reading week.
Sheffield Labour Students have been contacted for comment.