Peter Willsman, a far-left member of Labour’s ruling NEC committee, has doubled down on his comments about Labour antisemitism in a bizarre late-night Twitter rant.
Now he has doubled down on the comments, challenging his “empty headed critics” to provide evidence of the “ridiculous assertion” that “antisemitism in the Labour Party is ‘widespread and severe’”. The remarks would appear to contradict his earlier apology in which he said “I am of course aware of appalling instances of antisemitism within our party”.
In other tweets made in the early hours of Thursday morning, Willsman defended his choice of Fiona Onasanya as Labour’s candidate for Peterborough, again telling his “empty-headed critics” that he “did not have a crystal ball” and could not have foreseen her conviction for perverting the course of justice.
The tweets also saw him claim that his “normal way of speaking can seem a bit ranting to those who do not know me”, that “Ann Black should been kept on the [far-left slate of candidates for the NEC]” and that Labour “is a broad church … provided everyone is loyal to Jeremy Corbyn”.
Willsman still heads far-left faction the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy, but the tweets could be a sign of his waning influence. His regular report on NEC business has been replaced with a joint report from the entire far-left slate, and he has absented himself from the room during NEC discussions on antisemitism, apparently to avoid causing controversy.
His comments could also prove a challenge to Momentum, which has today called on Labour members to call out those who deny the party has an antisemitism problem.