Chris Williamson controversy: Harlow Council leader responds to Tory questions

Politics / Tue 4th Jun 2019 pm30 04:08pm

THE LEADER of Harlow Council has responded to a number of questions surrounding the planned appearance of suspended MP Chris Williamson at The Essex Skipper on Friday night.

Cllr Mark Ingall has sent a copy of the letter to YH.


Dear Mr Halfon, Mr Johnson and Mr Perrin,

Thank you for your letter, recieved late last night, which I have passed onto Laura as requested. She has assured me she will respond, so I will restrict myself to answering your four questions on behalf of the Labour Group of Councillors, specifically the four Councillors who are Momentum members. I have spoken to each of them and can confirm the following.

1) All four of the Labour Councillors who are also members of Momentum have confirmed to me that they do not support Chris Williamson’s stance on antisemitism in the Labour Party.

2) All four of the Labour Councillors who are also Momentum members have confirmed to me that they were not involved in organising the Chris Williamson event planned for the Skipper this coming Friday

3) None of the four Labour Councillors who are also Momentum members support Harlow Momentum hosting this event, in fact they have each assured me they have already asked for it to be cancelled.

4) I am not aware that any of these four Labour Councillors intend to resign from Momentum, my belief is they will in all probability remain members so that they can argue that the event is cancelled.

I have answered your questions fully and in detail and I hope you appreciate my candour. I hope also that you are, to some extent, reassured by the answers I am able to give.

When I first became aware of this event, I made it clear that I did not support it. I said I believed it had been organised by a very small group of individuals and that it had not been authorised by either Harlow Labour Party or the Labour Group of Councillors. I stand by these comments. This event should never have been organised and I hope it does not go ahead.

My Group of Councillors are united in saying that anti-semitism, like any form of racism, has no place in any political party. A sentiment I am sure you will want to support.”


YH also sent Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate, Laura McAlpine a number of questions on the matter. We have yet to receive a reply.

Update: Taking to Facebook, Momentum Harlow wrote: “In light of discussions with our Labour and Momentum comrades over the last few days, and in the interests of party unity, Harlow Momentum has decided to withdraw its support for the planned anti-austerity event with Chris Williamson on June 7th. This follows a democratic vote at our meeting last night (3rd June).”

“We fully support Jennie Formby and Jeremy Corbyn’s efforts to reform and improve the Party’s processes, and will respect those efforts as the suspension and investigation run their course.”

“It was categorically not our intention to cause offence, rather to draw attention to important issues around the never-ending austerity that has impacted the lives of so many.”

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12 Comments for Chris Williamson controversy: Harlow Council leader responds to Tory questions:

Ol Man River
2019-06-05 10:20:37

So “Harlow Momentum has decided to withdraw its support for the event with Chris Williamson” that they organised but NOT to cancel it. Meanwhile, silence from Harlow Labour’s Momentum-Supported Candidate Ms Mcalpine. Speechless...

2019-06-05 16:19:51

Laura M, or Mrs A.....i , her married name, but opts to use her single name. I wonder why ? This lady only criticises what is done by others, never speaking on her own behalf. Protege of one, Brett Hawksbee, the noted Momentum backer. Will they be going to the meeting ?

2019-06-05 18:08:40

Micky you need to actually read the full article before making your comments. It may make you look silly otherwise.

2019-06-05 22:20:32

Hi durcant I see in the article above that Harlow Momentum has decided to withdraw its support for the event in the interests of party unity. Not because inviting an MP suspended due to antisemitism was wrong. Not because this MP has no qualifications to speak on the subject, but "in the interests of party unity". And, as far as I can tell the event has not been cancelled. The message I'm getting is "party unity" is more important than antisemitism in the Labour party. What is there to stop someone from inviting Peter Willsman to give a talk on Lindahl's model of tax theory or something? This suspended MP should not have been invited in the first place. Did no one consider the fact that he was suspended might be a factor in inviting him to talk? Harlow Momentum and the Labour party by extension should not have given any support in the first place. Not because of "party unity" but because giving a platform to this suspended MP is just wrong. Both Micky and myself are perfectly capable of making ourselves look silly by the rubbish we post here. This does not negate the fact that someone thought it was a good idea to invite this person. It's good to see the Labour Group of Councillors reject this event. But someone organised this in the name of Harlow Momentum and the Labour party by extension. This indicates there may be a deeper problem that should be addressed.

2019-06-06 08:58:31

Let me repeat the truth. The Harlow Labour Party never invited or was involved in this decision. The Harlow Labour councillors never invited or was involved in this decision. The Harlow Labour councillors who are members of momentum have confirmed they were never involved. That is the truth.

2019-06-06 09:48:25

Who invited him then ????

2019-06-06 10:53:20

Micky good question but we absolutely know who didn’t. True leadership from the council leader Mark Ingall once he became aware of it.

2019-06-06 12:28:06

So, his crystal ball didn't start working until, Your Harlow, actually disclosed the information. I take comments back to me with a shed load of salt.

2019-06-06 15:23:37

I can’t answer on how or when he found out but all I can confirm that he acted in a very professional and dignified manner. He made his position crystal clear and made responses when asked for his view. Straight forward leadership.

2019-06-08 05:34:00

' very professional and dignified ', So are under-takers.

2019-06-08 08:35:02

Micky on this we can totally agree. Enjoy your weekend.

2019-06-10 09:25:20

So, it's Hawksbee behind this little plot. Just as I have often stated, he's the main supporter of Mrs A, or Laura Mc, if you prefer. Harlow's chosen one, says it all really.

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