#Emily4Deputy rumours re-emerge after ‘mic drop’ #PMQs performance

In March, rumours circulated widely that Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry was positioning to challenge Tom Watson for the deputy leadership of the Labour Party, with a vast majority of Labour members backing a bid.

Within days, according to senior Labour sources, at least thirty-five MPs were ready to support the challenge and Watson himself was described by insiders as ‘running scared’, but any preparations for a challenge were cut off by Theresa May’s General Election call a couple of weeks later.

Today, May was absent from the Commons today and being represented by Damian Green. The current Labour deputy leader was nowhere to be seen. Ms Thornberry represented Labour – and gave Green a thorough working over in a performance that was so impressive that there was an immediate resurgence in calls for her to take over as deputy leader.

thornberry red.png

Thornberry’s mix of jocularity and razor-sharp question was too much for Green, who looked and sounded nervous throughout and was forced into at least one lie to avoid relentless questions on the government’s continued clinging to a ‘no-deal’ option.

Under pressure from Thornberry, Green told the House that the OBR (Office of Budget Responsibility) would be announcing the results of analysis of the costs of a no-deal Brexit tomorrow – but the OBR immediately announced it was doing no such analysis:

hp obr no costing

So impressive was Ms T’s performance that PMQs had barely finished before the calls for her to be deputy were springing up:

rs et dep

Others followed through the afternoon:

Others didn’t mention the leadership specifically:


Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner was fulsome with a hint of role-reversal:

Comedian James Corden described it as a ‘mic drop’ moment:

And even the Huffington Post recognised the gulf in class between Thornberry and the benches opposite:

By the end of the afternoon, word was reaching the SKWAWKBOX that there may be substance to the rumours, so we contacted Ms Thornberry’s office to ask directly. The lady herself was not in but her press secretary denied she was planning a run at the deputy position because ‘there’s no vacancy’.

But of course, there doesn’t need to be a vacancy, as the same rules apply to the elected deputy leader’s position as to the leader’s – and if Ms Thornberry had the support of a little over fifty MPs out of Labour’s increased number in the Commons, she could trigger a contest regardless.

Before Theresa May’s General Election call there was enough substance to the rumours for the BBC’s Westminster Hour programme to be asking Ms T about her plans, so it’s worth keeping a close eye on developments – especially as Tom Watson was almost invisible during the General Election campaign and has done little since.

For now, it appears that while Emily Thornberry is not the de jure deputy leader, in the eyes of most Labour members and even significant parts of the media, she is the de facto holder.

Labour is lucky to have such a capable woman able to fill the void.

The SKWAWKBOX is provided free of charge but depends on the generosity of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal. Thanks for your support so this blog can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.


  1. ….and you go on about MSM!! Green was perfectly at ease at the DB – he quite enjoyed Thornberry’s early teasing and made three direct hits at her in the first 15 mins. SB you really need to be less slanted – otherwise you will just fall over.

  2. Emily Thornberry had a wonderful time working over a poor Damian Green and his Tory minions. Had there been a referee present the the exchange would have been stopped after five minutes as Green was not only on the ropes but was taking enormous punishment from the smiling assassin on the Opposition bench! Well done Em! I look forward to your next appearance with great anticipation!

  3. Not the time to incite division – we have enough on – let’s try & win the media battle first – and we need to be as united as possible to do that.
    I think she’s brilliant by the way – razor sharp.

  4. Surely it has to happen: With Jeremy Corbyn as leader and Emily Thornbury as deputy the LP can’t help but win. It’s a no-brainer!

  5. I watched the performance. And I have to say, Mrs T was on cracking form. Warmth, charm and poise just oozed from her and it was an excellent deputising by Mrs T right from the get-go. Looking forward to the next time she stands in for JC. And when she get out on the road with the rest of Labours front bench team I hope she comes to Bristol again.

  6. I’m a bit wary of Thornberry. Can’t quite put my finger on why, exactly.

    I seem to remember there was a consensus (Perhaps not on here, but among the MSM and labour supporters I know) that angela illeagle was ‘potential leadership quality’ after she was meant to have had a good day at the despatch box against someone or other – That good that I’d forgotten who it was by the end of that day!

    You see, knowing what illeagle’s been like throughout her parliamentary career I can honestly say I wasn’t gonna allow myself to be caught up in that bullshit. If you can’t have a good day opposing the rubbish that has been the last two governments, then something isn’t right. And a lot of the (pre-Corbyn) shadow cabinet simply didn’t….Not even once.

    One good day at the despatch box does not a good politician make. I’ll reserve judgement on Thornberry for now. It’ll take a little bit more to convince me.

    That said – her over watson? Definitely. What DOES watson do, exactly?

    1. That should’ve read:

      ‘One good day at the despatch box – Against utter garbage – does not a good politician make.’

  7. Oh, and an endorsement from the talentless, fat oaf known as james corden is NOT something I’d beat my chest about…Hmph!.

    Sorry, but I detest him, and just had to make it known. :/

  8. Watson the man, Thornberry the woman?
    Thornberry, every time!
    Why some may ask!
    Did she not make comment and take a photo of white van man’s house, yes she did, to right too!
    That’s to be expected when you hang red cross flags out of your windows!
    Just like playing your music loud, everyday!
    Was ENGLAND playing?
    You can bet his neighbours had plenty to say behind his back if they weren’t!
    All water under the bridge, she’s doing a fine job, she has my vote for DEPUTY LEADER OVER TOM WATSON, IF IT EVER HAPPENS!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: