Chris Williamson's sensational suspension and what it tells us about Westminster

Labour MP Chris Williamson
Labour MP Chris Williamson
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As a journalist it’s unusual to do a story that gets a united reaction from MPs, commentators and the public.

But after The Yorkshire Post broke the story showing an inflammatory speech by Labour MP Chris Williamson last night, that is what happened.

The response to the Derby North MP saying his party had been “too apologetic” about anti-Semitism was one of outrage from almost every corner.

Corbyn-supporting commentators and Tory Brexiteers were united in their condemnation, as they took to social media to vent.

As the news filtered through into the real world, we witnessed the unusual spectacle of Theresa May agreeing with Labour’s Deputy leader Tom Watson - that he must be suspended.

And eventually, under a tidal wave of criticism, he was.

The atmosphere in Westminster seemed to be that his behaviour towards the Jewish community had been tolerated for too long by his party leadership.

And that after Luciana Berger and others had felt forced to quit the party over its approach to anti-Semitic abuse just a week earlier, it was now or never to deliver on the promise that it would be rooted out.

Some complained that the party took too long to react, but there is no doubt that Williamson’s suspension represents a step-change in their response to these incidents.

The next test will be what happens now as the investigation into his behaviour gets underway.

But the one thing we can be sure of is that regional papers are as relevant as ever in driving the news agenda, and that The Yorkshire Post will continue to hold Westminster politicians to account.