Labour MP Poto Williams defied leader to speak out against Willie Jackson

Labour MP Poto Williams defied Labour leader Andrew Little to make a public statement against the controversial selection of Willie Jackson.

Ms Williams had promised Mr Little she would not speak publicly about the selection of the Labour candidate, but went on to hire a PR firm to help her voice concerns about Mr Jackson.

"We had a discussion about her concerns, and we talked about caucus being the opportunity to raise that, and that was the place to have those discussions", Mr Little said on Tuesday.

In her statement, Ms Williams said as the party's family and sexual violence spokesperson she was concerned about Mr Jackson because of his comments during the Roast Busters scandal.

"I do not believe that his attitude towards victims of sexual abuse match what I expect of a member of the Labour Party. Especially a member of our caucus," the statement read.

She has since met with Mr Jackson, and said they had a "robust and honest conversation" about her concerns.

In a Labour press statement she said: "He realises he still has more to learn about the issues of sexual violence. In that regard I hope to help him increase his understanding and our conversations will continue."

Mr Little would not discuss whether there would be repercussions for the Christchurch East MP, and he stood by the party's selection of Mr Jackson.

"I'm very satisfied with the announcement and everything that has surrounded that", Mr Little said.

Ms Williams says that at the time she felt very passionately about the issue, but in hindsight thinks she did the wrong thing.

"I am extremely passionate about the issue of family violence and I wanted to actually make a strong statement."

Ms Williams said her colleagues were disappointed that she spoke out, but supportive of her concerns about Mr Jackson.

"Generally speaking they've been disappointed in the way I handled the issue, but they've been very supportive of my view". 

Newshub.

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