Parliamentary authorities are facing calls to consider revoking a security pass held by a former Labour MP who now fronts a show on Iranian state TV.
Chris Williamson was MP for Derby North between 2017 and 2019 and served as a shadow minister under former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
He continues to enjoyed privileged access to Parliament by holding one of more than 300 passes doled out to former MPs.
This is despite his continuing role as a host for PressTV, which has seen the 66-year-old branded ‘Iran state-affiliated media’ by Twitter bosses.
Current MPs have expressed fears about a ‘mouthpiece’ for the ‘hostile’ Iranian regime having ‘unfettered access’ to the parliamentary estate.
Former Labour MP Chris Williamson has been a host of Iranian state-owned PressTV’s ‘Palestine Declassified’ show since March 2022
The 66-year-old was MP for Derby North between 2017 and 2019 and served as a shadow minister under former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn
Mr Williamson was suspended by Labour in February 2019 after claiming the party had been ‘too apologetic’ over antisemitism
PressTV, which is owned by the Iranian state, has been banned in Britain since 2013 after breaching the UK’s broadcasting rules.
The channel was also recently sanctioned by the EU as part of the bloc’s response to Iran’s violent crackdown on demonstrations following the death of Mahsa Amini.
PressTV was found by Brussels to be ‘responsible for serious human rights violations’ for ‘broadcasting the forced confessions of detainees’.
In 2021, the US justice department took PressTV’s website offline in America – by seizing its domain – as part of efforts to combat disinformation.
Mr Williamson told MailOnline: ‘The willingness of these parliamentarians to make utterly baseless accusations about me, while remaining silent about hundreds of MPs acting as lobbyists for the hostile regime in Tel Aviv, reveals their shameless hypocrisy.’
All ex-MPs are eligible for passes that give them access to Parliament – although the authorities can refuse in some circumstances.
According to official records, Mr Williamson has held a pass since July 2020.
This was seven months after he failed to be re-elected as Derby North’s MP when standing as an independent candidate at the 2019 general election.
Mr Williamson was blocked from standing as an official Labour candidate following his suspension from the party.
This came after he claimed Labour had been ‘too apologetic’ over antisemitism.
He has been a host of PressTV’s ‘Palestine Declassified’ show since March 2022 after previously appearing as a guest on the channel.
The show has asked whether a UK charity that protects British Jews from antisemitism and related threats, the Community Security Trust, can be ‘trusted’.
Another episode hosted by Mr Williamson in March last year discussed the ‘Zionist influence’ on the music industry.
Mr Williamson’s Twitter account is officially flagged as ‘Iran state-affiliated media’ on the social media site.
But he disputes this by writing in his account bio that he is ‘NOT affiliated to any state media’.
Mr Williamson’s Twitter account is officially flagged as ‘Iran state-affiliated media’ on the social media site
Around 300 former MPs continue to enjoy privileged access to the parliamentary estate, according to official records
Parliamentary officials are now under pressure to rethink the granting of a security pass to Mr Williamson.
Conservative backbencher Henry Smith told MailOnline: ‘The parliamentary authorities should look to review whether it’s proper for someone like Chris Williamson to have unfettered access to the parliamentary estate.
The Crawley MP, a member of the House of Commons’ foreign affairs committee, said he had ‘no objection’ to former MPs continuing to hold parliamentary passes, but said it was an issue of ‘how they are using that’.
‘If they are in the pay of hostile foreign governments, the parliamentary authoritities should be looking to revoke their pass,’ he added.
Mr Smith noted how Parliament was a ‘very sensitive place in terms of security’ and said privileged access should not be used to ‘give succour to governments that wish us ill’.
Brendan Clarke-Smith, Tory MP for Bassetlaw, also called for parliamentary authorities to review Mr Williamson’s pass.
‘Having a parliamentary pass carries responsibilities,’ he told MailOnline.
‘They should consider whether promoting and being on the payroll of a sanctioned organisation should mean holding one is brought into question.
‘Westminster doesn’t need a mouthpiece for the Iranian regime.’
Commons’ Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has previously asked Sir Charles Walker, the senior Conservative MP, to look into the issuing of parliamentary passes to former MPs.
This followed concerns about whether such passes are being used for lobbying purposes by ex-MPs who take on roles as consultants or advisers.
Sir Charles told MailOnline he would investigate Mr Williamson’s case.
Ex-MPs have to apply for a former members pass and, if they are found to have breached the rules associated with the pass, it will be brought to the attention of an committee that advises the Commons authorities.
A Commons spokesman said they were unable to comment on individual cases.
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