| Lord Tom Watson |
|Born||Thomas Anthony Watson|
8 January 1967
Sheffield, United Kingdom
|Alma mater||University of Hull|
Thomas Anthony Watson, Baron Watson of Wyre Forest is the former Labour Party Member of Parliament (MP) for West Bromwich East (2001-2019) who was Minister for the Civil Service at the Cabinet Office from 2008 to 2009.
In October 2011, Ed Miliband appointed Watson as the Deputy Chair of the Labour Party and the Labour's Campaign Co-ordinator for the 2015 General Election. He resigned from both roles in July 2013 following a controversy over the selection of a new parliamentary candidate for Falkirk to replace Eric Joyce.
On 12 September 2015, Tom Watson was elected as his party's Deputy Leader, alongside Jeremy Corbyn, the new Leader of the Labour Party, gaining 198,962 votes (50.7%), including second preference votes.
On 6 November 2019, Tom Watson announced he was quitting as Labour's Deputy Leader and would not be standing at the UK/2019 General Election. In his letter of thanks to Tom Watson, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn wrote:
- "I've always enjoyed our very convivial chats about many things, including cycling, exercise and horticulture. I hope the horseradish plants I gave you thrive."
In June 2020, it was reported that Tom Watson had been rejected for a peerage after highlighting the claims of Carl Beech, who claimed a paedophile ring had operated in Westminster. The claims led the Metropolitan Police to conduct dawn raids on the homes of the Edwin Bramall, Leon Brittan and former MP Harvey Proctor. The Tory peer Lord Cormack officially registered his opposition to Watson's peerage nomination, saying “one who has abused his place in one House of Parliament should not be admitted to another”.
In October 2022, it was reported that Watson would be appointed to the House of Lords as part of the resignation honours of Boris Johnson. On 19 December 2022, Simon Attwood tweeted:
"The vermin in ermine, just got a little bit more verminous..."
"Act of sabotage"
On 9 July 2016 Len McCluskey, the leader of Britain’s biggest trade union Unite, attacked a decision by Tom Watson to call off a meeting between Jeremy Corbyn supporters and rebelling MPs as an “act of sabotage” against the Labour party:
- "I am dismayed at the statement issued by Tom Watson announcing his withdrawal from talks aimed at resolving the crisis in the Labour party,” he said. “Extraordinarily, I received no notice of this statement before it was issued. I had made arrangements for a meeting of trade union leaders, Tom Watson and representatives of the PLP and the party leader for tomorrow, arrangements requested by Tom Watson and his colleagues, specifically for Mr Watson’s convenience. In that context, when the possibility of a workable plan had never seemed closer, Tom Watson’s actions today can only look like an act of sabotage fraught with peril for the future of the Labour party.” McCluskey added: “I must clarify one point in Tom Watson’s statement: I made it absolutely clear from the outset of these discussions that Jeremy Corbyn’s resignation as the leader was not on the agenda. Watson knew that, and it is entirely wrong to suggest that any public statement by Jeremy represented any change in the situation. This is a deeply disingenuous manoeuvre."
In August 2016, Watson criticised Jeremy Corbyn for nominating human rights lawyer Shami Chakrabarti for a peerage without having consulted him. The Board of Deputies of British Jews were also critical of the nomination, saying it compromised the independence of an inquiry recently headed by Chakrabarti into antisemitism in the Labour party.
On 6 August 2018, following a formal complaint of "antisemitism" by Labour MP Luciana Berger, the NEC suspended George McManus - a member of Labour's National Policy Forum - for posting on Facebook:
- "Apparently Electoral Commission states that Tom Watson received £50,000+ from Jewish donors," including businessman Sir Trevor Chinn, adding: "At least Judas only got 30 pieces of silver".
After deleting the post and apologising to Watson and the Jewish community, McManus was readmitted to the party on 27 September 2018.
On 25 February 2019, Tom Watson said he would take personal charge of "antisemitism" and bullying complaints made by MPs to bring them to the attention of the Labour leadership, telling colleagues he will hold the party’s management of the complaints to account. He also called on Jeremy Corbyn to tackle “a crisis for the soul of the Labour Party” or risk many more defections to The Independent Group after nine Labour MPs quit the party, with at least three citing "antisemitism" and bullying as their main motivation.
In 2003, Tom Watson voted for the Iraq War, and subsequently voted consistently against an investigation into the war.
Letter to Blair
On 5 September 2006, it was reported that Watson had signed a letter to Tony Blair urging the Prime Minister's resignation to end the uncertainty over his succession. The Government Chief Whip, Jacqui Smith, told Watson that evening that he must either withdraw his signature to the letter, or resign his post. On 6 September 2006, he resigned his ministerial position and released a further statement calling on Blair to resign:
It is with the greatest sadness that I have to say that I no longer believe that your remaining in office is in the interest of either the party or the country ... How and why this situation has arisen no longer matters. I share the view of the overwhelming majority of the party and the country that the only way the party and the government can renew itself in office is urgently to renew its leadership.
Tony Blair was quoted by the BBC as saying that the statement and letter from Watson was "disloyal, discourteous and wrong" and that he would be seeing Watson later in the day. He said that he had planned to dismiss Watson from Government for having signed the letter urging him to resign. Within days of the incident suggestions appeared that Watson had been to Chancellor Gordon Brown's residence in Scotland only the day before the memo was sent to Blair. Watson claimed he was dropping off a present for Brown's new baby Fraser and that neither the issue of the note, nor "any politics" were discussed.
As Watson recounted on his weblog, his reception at the Labour Party Conference a few weeks after his resignation got a mixed reaction from Labour Party colleagues. Some sought him out to congratulate him, whilst others sought him out to be sarcastic or to be abusive. One such encounter was with Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, who asked Watson, whilst he was waiting to be interviewed by Channel 4 News, if he was "going to resign again?"
Friend of Israel
Tom Watson is vice president of Trade Union Friends of Israel.
Put on eBay
On 30 June 2016, Evolve Politics reported that Tom Watson had been put on eBay and was described as "Not working properly. May need new batteries?" The description goes on to state that the “buyer can collect” or the seller is prepared to “put him on a pallet and have him delivered.” The seller advises customers that he also has "a lovely Hilary Benn action figure" who "talks about bombing and undermining the democratically elected Leader of the Labour Party."
|Document:Anti-semitism is cover for a much deeper divide in Britain's Labour party||Article||20 February 2019||Jonathan Cook||Paradoxically, the Labour breakaway group may have inadvertently exposed the weakness of its hand. The eight MPs have indicated that they will not run in by-elections, and for good reason: it is highly unlikely they would stand a chance of winning in any of their current constituencies outside the Labour Party.|
|Document:Brexit reveals Corbyn to be the true moderate||blog post||12 September 2019||Jonathan Cook||It is time to stop acting like zealots for neoliberalism, squabbling over which brand of turbo-charged capitalism we prefer, and face up to our collective responsibility to change our and our children’s future.|
|Document:Dear Tom, about this Trotsky thing…..||article||11 August 2016||Jeff Goulding||Tom Watson, Corbyn’s deputy, has launched an astonishing and utterly ridiculous attack on his leader’s supporters. In it he claimed that “Trotskyists are twisting the arms of young Labour members”.|
|Document:How top Labour officials plotted to bring down Jeremy Corbyn||Article||16 April 2020||Jonathan Cook||The stench of cover-up is already in the air. Keir Starmer's Labour needs to come clean and admit that its most senior officials defrauded hundreds of thousands of party members, and millions more supporters, who voted for a fairer, kinder Britain.|
|Document:Jeremy Corbyn’s Opponents Burned the House Down to Stop Him - Now Keir Starmer Is King of the Ashes||Article||25 July 2020||Daniel Finn||By sacking Rebecca Long-Bailey on a trumped-up pretext, Sir Keir Rodney Starmer has set the seal on a drastic shift to the right for the Labour Party. That shift comes just as the key arguments by Jeremy Corbyn’s opponents to justify a break with his left leadership have been falling apart in the face of overwhelming evidence.|
|Document:Labour councillor demands refund from party after leaked report exposed sabotage of Corbyn||Article||16 April 2020||Lamiat Sabin||Sarah-Jane McDonough's demand for a refund came after Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey claimed that attempts by the "Senior Management Team" to sabotage Labour’s chances in the UK/2017 General Election could have broken electoral law.|
|Document:Letter to Sir Keir from a newly resigned member of the Labour Party||Letter||8 April 2020||Bronagh Wilson||The Labour Party is now dead, it has ceased to be, it is bereft of life. You Sir Keir and your fellow travellers disgust me and it is time you PASOKed right off!.|
|Document:Margaret Hodge reflects on Jeremy Corbyn||interview||16 August 2016||Peter Hennessy||I know John McDonnell and Ken Livingstone. And I've known Jeremy Corbyn for 35 years when he first became the MP for Islington North and I was leader of Islington Council in local government. I know what they're about: they want the party to be a movement.|
|Document:The witchfinders are now ready to burn Corbyn||Blog post||28 February 2019||Jonathan Cook||Jeremy Corbyn’s allies are being picked off one by one, from grassroots activists like Jackie Walker and Marc Wadsworth to higher-placed supporters like Chris Williamson and Seumas Milne. Soon Corbyn will stand alone, exposed before the inquisition that has been prepared for him.|
|Document:We condemn the suspension of Jo Bird and the appointment of Lord Falconer||Article||4 March 2019||As Ken Loach said: “If it looks like a witch hunt and behaves like a witch hunt – it may well be just that. This is intolerable and must end now.”|
- ↑ "Resignation"
- ↑ "Unveiling Labour's new guard"
- ↑ "Tom Watson quits as Labour election campaign chief"
- ↑ "Labour leadership contest live: Will Jeremy Corbyn win?"
- ↑ "Results of The Labour Leadership contest"
- ↑ "Tom Watson quits as Labour deputy leader and steps down as MP"
- ↑ "Breaking: as Watson resigns, it’s time to recognise his contributions"
- ↑ ""
- ↑ https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11325941/Norman-Lamont-slams-Tom-Watsons-peerage-involvement-false-VIP-paedophile-ring-scandal.html
- ↑ "The vermin in ermine, just got a little bit more verminous..."
- ↑ "Len McCluskey attacks Tom Watson for pulling out of Labour talks"
- ↑ "Tom Watson criticises Shami Chakrabarti peerage nomination"
- ↑ "Anti-Semitism: Labour suspends member over Tom Watson 'Jewish donors' post"
- ↑ "Labour readmits ex-parliamentary candidate less than eight weeks after 'Jewish donors/Judas' comment"
- ↑ "Tom Watson says he will personally monitor antisemitism cases"
- ↑ "Tom Watson theyworkforyou.com"
- ↑ "Tom Watson"
- ↑ "Minister joins Blair exit demands"
- ↑ "Blair under pressure to name day"
- ↑ "Shadow cabinet set for battle over Israel"
- ↑ "Tom Watson on eBay"
- ↑ "Someone’s put Labour Deputy Tom Watson on eBay, and it’s utterly brilliant"