Time for JC to #graspthenettle – #withdrawthewhip, force a deputy-leader election

The SKWAWKBOX was delighted with the announcement by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s team of a planned ‘relaunch’ in the new year, casting Corbyn ‘as a left-wing populist’ to tap on the massive flux of anti-Establishment sentiment.

Except, of course, that Corbyn already occupies that position – authentic, insurgent and refusing to conform to aims and behaviours the Establishment approves.

jc relaunch.png

But the idea is a good one and if it results in a drive to steamroll and, where needed, to bypass the blockage by editors and even by the Labour ‘machine’ and get the message out to the country, fantastic.

Of course, there are others in the Labour party just as authentic – but as malcontents, plotters and underminers eager to return to the Establishment-approved status quo.

Step forward Tom Watson. As indeed he did, within hours, to speaking to media to attempt to pour scorn and water on the idea:


The BBC article makes a somewhat surprising attribution to Watson:

Tom Watson said leaders always needed to win more people around, but he had not heard of any change of approach and Mr Corbyn was on a pretty “high trajectory” already.

Right. So why are your Labour First and Progress pals constantly blaming Corbyn for poor polling while constantly undermining him and preventing anyone hearing about his ambitious policies and key speeches, Tom – without comment or hindrance from you?

Corbyn’s problem is that Watson’s position as deputy leader is an elected one, so it’s not within Corbyn’s power to sack him – and Watson knows he’d be slaughtered if he stood again, as the same people who gave Corbyn a bigger-than-ever mandate in September would not touch Watson with a barge-pole now.

Corbyn does have one option, though – and it would fall into the ‘nuclear option’ category, as – to my knowledge – it has never been done before.

He could ‘withdraw the whip’.

Here’s what the Parliament website says about withdrawing the whip:

[if the whip is withdrawn from an MP or Lord it] means that the Member is effectively expelled from their party (but keeps their seat) and must sit as an independent until the whip is restored.

An MP who is no longer in the Labour party cannot be deputy leader of the Labour party. So a vacancy would be created and a new election to fill the position would be forced.

I describe this as a ‘nuclear option’ because some members of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) would certainly try to defend Watson. But this would merely be to bring Watson’s ‘Project Anaconda’ and the ‘moderate’ faction’s ‘silent coup’ out into the open – and it would be far better than allowing them to continue to leech vitality and credibility from Corbyn’s leadership and the movement it has inspired.

In other words, better to ‘rip off the bandaid’ than to allow it to cover the festering wound that is Labour’s right-wing Parliamentary/bureaucratic faction.

And with the solid, decent – and preferably female – MP that would be voted in to replace Watson, the party would have a united leadership far better placed to face down, smack down and take down those who have not stopped and simply will not stop undermining the party they claim to love and support until they achieve Corbyn’s fall, even if it means throwing the next election to do it.

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  1. If this happens it will mean withdrawing the whip from several Mps as well. The fall out will be painful but it may be what is needed to bring his authority to bear on the party, Maybe those who are plotting will think twice, Maybe the NEC and PLP would consider an apology to the thousands of members who were wrongfully suspended in their illegal purge.

  2. The only person doing harm to the Labour party is SKAWBOX with this daily vitriol that is increasing in intensity. The party has traditionally voted for deputy leaders who are not quite in the same cast as the leader. Blair tolerated Prescott – Smith and Beckett were not exactly of the same mold – Kinnock and Hattersley even less so. And look who Attlee had to put up with! Watson is not after the leadership – as he made clear during his deputy leadership campaign. What SB will not accept is that the party is a broad church.

    1. Blah blah, Kc. I don’t know why you bother, you just look more out of touch each time.
      Who said anything about a ‘deputy in the same cast’? Different is good – but not backstabbing-untrustworthy-constrictor ‘different’.

    2. KC would you prefer to leave Labour in the hands of warmongers whove tacitly suported Tory austerity repeatedly?

      Even dimwitted labour members have and will continue to gradually realise that the labour party is trying to scam them, disenfranchise them and hijack their efforts.

      Then who is going to camaign for a Watson / Owen Smith / Eagle labour party?

      And what use is a Tory lite party that still supports wars and austerity, as the Watson faction certainly does?

    3. Perhaps if Toxic Tom Watson would stop interfering in things that should not be his concern, in this case the Unite leadership, he could get on with supporting Corbyn. Tom Watson is making the bullets for Skwawkbox and others to fire, so don’t shoot the messenger. If Watson was to come on side, the comments would be very different. It’s not just this blogger who can see this. Most of the membership know it, but some chose to ignore it because it suits their ideology even though it is killing the party. Psychologists call this cognitive dissonance.
      Yes Blair had Prescott as deputy, but Prescott was nothing but supportive of the leadership at all times and worked tirelessly for a Labour government. You cannot say the same of Watson. He had done his utmost (I suspect at the behest of Blair, Mandleson and Kinnock via the Portland Communications PR agency which Blair set up) to undermine Corbyn from the start.
      Watson has lost the confidence of many members in his ability to do his job as deputy. He appears to be more interested in in the agendas of Progress and Friends of Israel (anybody found out yet what the £1m slush fund is for or the £500k from Max Mosely)?
      It’s game over for Watson and we all know it.

  3. Absolutely fantastic Swawkbox. If this could happen my disillusionment with Jeremy Corbyn’s led Labour Party would greatly lift!

    Janet Beale

  4. The Labour Party is NOT a Broad Church. It is dominated by those on the right of the party that have tolerated the left of the party if they are elected MP’s by their constituents – nothing more.

  5. Jeremy Corbyn, and Ed Miliband before him, does not receive the backing of the LP staffers and I think that they are an important block. IMO his having a loyal administrative team is just as important as a supportive deputy leader. After all, the summer’s debacle was orchestrated via the LP administrators and without their help, the anti-corbynites in the PLP and on the NEC would have been stymied. Many LP staffers are believed to actively support Progress or Labour First.

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