Who is Peter Willsman? Labour suspends NEC member over anti-Semitism remarks


PETER Willsman has been suspended from the Labour Party over allegations he made anti-Semitic comments.

Here’s what you need know about the veteran left-wing activist and what he’s been accused of.

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Peter Willsman arrives at Labour Party headquarters in London in 2018[/caption]

Who is Peter Willsman?

The 75-year-old was born in Andover and worked as a researcher a union during the 1970s.

Mr Willsman is secretary of the Campaign For Labour Democracy group, which opposed the expulsion of Ken Livingstone from the Labour Party over anti-Semitism.

He currently sits on Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee and is a staunch supporter of party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Mr Willsman was part of the left wing Grassroots Alliance group that embarrassed Tony Blair in 1998 when it one of four spots on the party’s ruling body at the end of a bitterly fought campaign.

Why has he been suspended?

A tape emerged of him saying anti-Semitism has been “whipped up” by the Israeli embassy working within the party.

The move to suspend Mr Willsman, who sits on Labour’s National Executive Committee, has been demanded by Labour deputy leader Tom Watson.

In a recording obtained by LBC, a man said to be Mr Willsman talks about how people will “move heaven and earth” to “avoid paying taxes”, before claiming that Israeli agents are at work within the party.

He said: “One of these things about anti-Semitism is they will use anything to whip people up – they will use anything, any lies, it’s all total lies, they just whip it up.

“This is off the record, it’s almost certain who is behind all this anti-Semitism against Jeremy (Corbyn), almost certainly it’s the Israeli embassy.

“Yeah, because they caught somebody in the Labour Party and it turns out they were an agent of the embassy.”

Mr Willsman then apparently claims that 68 rabbis who complained of “widespread and severe” anti-Semitism in Labour were organised by the Israeli embassy.

He asked: “Is 70 out of 600,000 widespread and severe?”

Last year he was caught in a similar storm.

In an incendiary recording he declared the anti-Semitism crisis in the party was “false” and invested by “Jewish Trump fanatics”.

What happens now?

Labour MPs, including Stella Creasy, condemned the remarks and said Mr Willsman should go.

A letter signed by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Jewish Leadership Council and the Community Security Trust, condemns Labour NEC member Peter Willsman for his “anti-Semitic slur”.

A Labour spokesman said: “All complaints about anti-Semitism are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures and any appropriate disciplinary action is taken.”

Senior Labour figures have joined with Jewish groups in calling for Mr Willsman to be expelled from the party
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