NEWS
20/08/2018 21:43 BST | Updated 21/08/2018 08:43 BST

Labour MP Chris Williamson's Praise For Blogger Who Called Jo Cox A 'Warmongering Blairite'

The party is 'looking into' Chris Williamson's comments.

Derby North MP Chris Williamson.

A Labour MP has said it was a “privilege” to meet and listen to a talk by a controversial pro-Assad blogger, who has previously described murdered MP Jo Cox as a “warmongering Al Qaeda advocate”.

Vanessa Beeley made the comment in a tweet almost a year after Cox’s death, and has also written that “Zionists rule France”.

Derby North MP Chris Williamson met Beeley at the Beautiful Days festival over the weekend, where she appeared on stage to discuss the Syrian conflict.

Beeley is a blogger who has gained notoriety over the last few years for her uncritical accounts of her trips to the country under the supervision of the Syrian regime.

She has written that the White Helmets, the volunteer group that rescues people from the rubble of Syria’s civil war, is a terrorist-linked organisation that fakes its activities to elicit sympathy in the West for a regime change plot against Syrian leader, Bashar al-Assad.

RT
Vanessa Beeley is a regular guest on Russian state media.

Beeley supports the Assad government’s contention that there was no popular revolution in Syria in 2011 and that civilians and humanitarian workers in rebel-held areas are “terrorists” and “legitimate targets”.

She recently wrote about the Jo Cox Foundation, which donates money to the White Helmets, concluding that is part of the western regime change plot against Assad.

Mother-of-two Cox died in 2016 after she was attacked in her Batley and Spen constituency by far-right extremist Thomas Mair.  He was jailed for life for her murder.

Williamson’s praise of Beeley comes amid ongoing accusations of anti-Semitism in sections of the Labour Party. The president of the JewishBoard of Deputies has said its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, is “leading the party into a dark place of ugly conspiracy theories”.

Beeley also believes the attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo was staged and al-Qaeda wasn’t behind the 9/11 attacks, has shared platforms with Holocaust-deniers and is also used by the Assad regime to give talks to other people partaking in propaganda tours of the country.

Williamson is a former shadow minister and was considered a close ally of Corbyn. However, his resignation from the front bench after controversially appearing to suggest that top council tax rates should be doubled was widely considered to be a mutual decision with the leadership.

He has previously compared the Lib Dems to the Nazis  and said Labour MPs who supported Theresa May’s position blaming the Salisbury poisoning on Russia were as much “political enemies” as the Tories.

His latest tweet drew swift condemnation.

A spokesperson for the Labour Party told HuffPost UK they are looking into Williamson’s tweet.

Chris Williamson has been contacted for comment.

Beeley, 53, is the daughter of the late British diplomat Sir Harold Beeley, and worked in various sales and management roles in the plastics industry before turning to activism in 2012.

Her writings have been heavily promoted by the Russian government and military as part of their ongoing propaganda campaign relating to the Syrian conflict, of which they are one of the main belligerents. 

A group of UK academics has also endorsed Beeley’s work, drawing accusations of pushing pro-Assad propaganda, “peddling conspiracy theories” and “whitewashing” war crimes.

More than 500,000 people have been killed in Syria as a result of the war, and one project established with the aim of documenting them all is the Violations Documentation Centre (VDC).

The VDC has documented 188,957 deaths so far, two thirds of them civilians. Its records indicate 77 percent were likely killed in contravention of humanitarian law by the Assad regime.

Opposition groups account for 12 percent, 4 percent by Islamic State and Al Nusra Front, 3 percent by the Russians, and 1.4 percent by the US-led international coalition.