Statement on Peter Willsman

by: Open Labour on 01.08.18 | In: Editorial
by: Open Labour on: 01.08.18 in: Editorial

Open Labour strongly condemns Peter Willsman’s comments at the most recent NEC meeting. We wish to make clear our position that views and actions like Willsman’s have no place within the Labour Party. This is yet another setback in the Labour Party’s attempt to deal with its anti-Semitism problem and rebuild trust with the Jewish community. We call on Willsman to publically and unreservedly apologise for what he said and reach out to the Jewish Labour Movement, letting them help him overcome his prejudice.

We note that this is not the first time a candidate for the NEC or a sitting NEC member has made wildly inappropriate comments regarding Jewish people. We believe that this is the regrettable result of factions prioritising loyalty over basic suitability and decency. Furthermore, we note a surprising and deeply distressing lack of condemnation against Willsman from Momentum, its slate and its leaders.

We believe the Labour left does not need to choose between left candidates and candidates with problematic views. NEC candidates should be chosen for their accountability, their decency and their political views, not on their blind loyalty. The ideological siege mentality that currently exists within the Labour Party’s factions has created a toxic, sectarian situation, meaning that calling out problematic views within one’s own faction has become almost impossible.

We urge all Labour Party members who have not yet voted for the NEC elections to not vote for Willsman and to instead choose accountable, independent and principled candidates who take the anti-Semitism problem seriously and will fight to eradicate it.

This latest regrettable event strengthens Open Labour’s determination to continue fighting for a radical, anti-racist and open Labour Party where debate, disagreement and free-thinking is encouraged and where all forms of intolerance, most notably anti-Semitism, are dealt with firmly and swiftly.


  • Not sure about Willsman ‘reaching out’ to the Jewish community. I think he’s missed that boat unfortunately. The recording of his angry rant was not a good thing to wake up to on the morning news. I think he should resign or be required to do so. Why is it so hard to condemn Netyanahu’s government vehemently without banging on about Nazi’s? We all condemn repressive regimes around the world without resorting to racism. We must show confidence in tackling these issues. We want to be in government. Our representatives have to be able to step up.

  • I totally agree. Blind factional loyalty seems more important to some members than upholding the values that the Party is supposed to represent. The inability to see that someone on your ‘side’ (and the fact that we have ‘sides’ at all) could possibly be in the wrong whilst seeking to score victories against fellow members has reached ridiculous levels; from the outside it makes Labour look like a loose confederation of warring tribes rather than a potential party of government.

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