Sheffield hotel cancel event with MP Chris Williamson after ‘anonymous threats’
The event was due to take place after Williamson’s visit to campus was cancelled by students
A Sheffield hotel was forced to cancel plans to host controversial MP Chris Williamson after claiming they were faced with “anonymous threats”, according to Sheffield Labour Left who were due to host him.
The Derby North MP was set to hold a meeting with Sheffield Labour Students this week, but his planned visit to campus was postponed by the society amid concerns surrounding his stance towards antisemitism.
The event was subsequently taken over by Sheffield Labour Left – separate from Sheffield Labour Students – and was arranged for this Friday.
Williamson has branded claims of anti-Jewish sentiment within the Labour Party a “really dirty, lowdown trick”, and has repeatedly supported members of the party that have been suspended for antisemitism.
Recently, he has called Ken Livingstone and Jackie Walker’s suspension “ridiculous” and “unfair”, despite Livingstone’s claims that Hitler was a Zionist, and Walker’s claims that Jews were the “chief financiers” of the slave trade.
Jewish students in Sheffield raised concerns at SLS’ choice to invite Williamson to speak on campus, with one student saying they were “horrified” at the decision.
Despite these concerns, SLL announced that they would be taking over the event and would host a meeting with the Derby North MP tomorrow (Thursday) at Jury's Inn.
Both SLS and SLL have been keen to distance themselves from one another, with SLL launching a petition calling on the SLS committee to reverse their decision to un-invite Chris Williamson to speak on campus.
Speaking to The Sheffield Tab, a spokesperson for SLL dismissed the apprehension raised by Sheffield’s Jewish students and parts of SLS.
They said: “The concerns expressed by SLS are not ones we agree with.
"We do [not] believe that Chris Williamson is, or has been, anti-Semitic.”
However, despite their readiness to host the event, SLL posted earlier tonight that the hotel had been receiving “anonymous threats”, forcing them to cancel the booking.
The announcement has thrown the meeting with Williamson further into question, forcing SLL to search for a new venue.
The nature of the alleged threats has not been made clear.
The Tab Sheffield has approached Jury’s Inn for comment.