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Labour MP targeted by right wing stands as independent
Chris Williamson, MP for Derby North has announced that because of his ongoing suspension from the Labour Party, he has been forced to stand as an independent candidate in the general election.
Tony Tinley, a Unite official who has been endorsed by the right wing Labour First grouping, has been selected to stand for Labour in the constituency.
The Socialist Party is campaigning in this election for a Jeremy Corbyn-led government on socialist policies. Chris has been a strong supporter of Jeremy Corbyn and, for example, the democratic selection of candidates by means of mandatory reselection.
Because of this, he was targeted by the Blairite right wing of the Labour Party and falsely accused of 'anti-Semitism'.
Chris Williamson has a chequered past. As council leader he implemented privatisation, and even formed a coalition with Tory councillors in 2006 after Labour lost its majority. However, since being elected as an MP his trajectory has been to the left. His voting record in parliament and consistent support for Corbyn suggests that he would back a Corbyn government with anti-austerity policies.
This is something that, given Tony Blair's recent statement in the Financial Times attacking Corbyn and calling for votes only for "a core of good Labour MPs who will not be whipped into supporting policy they do not believe in", Labour MPs on the right of the party, including those affiliated to Labour First, would resist.
This year's annual general meeting (annual conference) of the RMT transport workers' union gave its full support to Chris Williamson as an MP who has stood up for workers' rights.
The Socialist Party believes Chris Williamson's candidature would strengthen the struggle of a Corbyn-led government to implement anti-austerity policies. We believe a conference of trade unionists, Labour Party members, community activists and socialists should be urgently called locally - within days if possible - to discuss building a campaign of support for Chris Williamson and the socialist policies on which to fight.
This could form an important part of the struggle to transform the Labour Party into a genuine workers' party, where all MPs are subject to recall and accountable to the workers' movement.
In The Socialist 13 November 2019:
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