Watson only MP not to attend key NEC meeting on IHRA. More questions he isn’t answering

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Tom Watson

Tom Watson has given an interview, published in today’s Observer, attacking the Labour Party’s response to antisemitism, in which he claims that the party will be unfit for government if the antisemitism narrative continues – though of course, in giving that interview, he is perpetuating the narrative.

So you’d think that, when the issue of the IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Association) working definition of antisemitism and Labour’s new Code of Conduct was discussed by Labour’s NEC (National Executive Committee) last month, Watson would have made sure he was in the room to put his views across.

But that was not the case. All the NEC’s other MP members were present for the meeting, as they all had to be at Parliament that day anyway for an important vote carrying the maximum ‘three-line whip’ .

Tom Watson was the only one absent.

Watson dialled in for the discussion and spoke in favour of the examples – but did not attempt to force a vote and in the infamous leaked audio of Peter Willsman’s misrepresented comments during the meeting Watson cannot be heard on the tape interjecting or confronting Willsman’s supposedly antisemitic comments.

The SKWAWKBOX asked Tom Watson:

Planning an article about your non-attendance and relative non-participation in the recent NEC meeting, in light of your ‘eternal shame’ piece in the Guardian. Every other Labour MP was present as there was a 3-line whip vote. Please provide answers/comment:

  1. Why were you absent when you must have been on site for the whipped vote?
  2. You spoke in favour of adopting the examples but didn’t oppose the consensus or try to push anything to a vote – why?
  3. You accused Peter Willsman of being a bully and said he ‘disgusts’ you. Why didn’t you challenge his comments at the time when you were dialled in?

He has so far failed to respond.

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  1. The RW claim the full implementation of the IHRA Code and examples is absolutely critical to the Labour Party’s fight against anti-Semitism then why didn’t McNicol and the RW implement it whilst they had control of the NEC for over 2.5 years of Jeremy’s time in office.

  2. Your previous report on this rumpus notes that: “But the recording also narrows the range of possible perpetrators – because it is obvious from the audio that it was recorded from a speaker rather than in person. In other words, whoever made the recording was ‘dialling in’ and not on view to the rest of the participants.So who wasn’t at the meeting in person?”
    Are the two stories connected?

  3. Watson always looked like Ronnie Kray when he was chubby. Now he’s far more sinister.

  4. Some may suggest that whoever made that recording should be expelled from the Labour Party plus it may have been a criminal offence secretly recording meeting without permission and leaking it.
    Whoever did it should disgust every member and decent human being.
    The mystery deepens and perhaps narrows?
    Whilst on here have just read an excellent piece in the May/June 2018 excellent New Left Review on ‘The Corbyn Project’ by Robin Blackburn which I highly recommend.
    To paraphrase the article perhaps Left Wing Democratic Socialists need to become the “Brains of the Labour Party.”.
    Comrades let your ideas bloom.

  5. The IHRA definition of A/S is a sham and should be ditched completely and not given any more consideration whatsoever. It should be abandoned in favour of the dictionary definition which is clear, concise and unambiguous.

    Watson should also be ditched in favour of Chris Williamson.

    1. I agree wholeheartedly on both counts, but as Watson is an elected official it’s far from easy to get rid of him.

      1. When is the next opportunity to get rid of him?

  6. Bored philosopher, we can’t get rid of him by deselection until the next election. Either Jeremy could withdraw the whip or someone like Chris Williamson could issue a deputy leadership challenge.

    CW would need enough nominations from the PLP, anyone know how many it would be. I’m not sure if it is 10% as in a Leadership challenge.

  7. Oops! Don’t know what happened there but suggest replaced by Chris Williamson as a joint deputy with a Leftie pro- Corbyn woman.

  8. I’d quite fancy Angela Rayner to make a bloody good fist of it, meself.

    1. From the neighbouring (London) constituency to Corbyn?

      Might leave a few northerners (like meself) disgruntled and feeling as alienated as ever with the london-centric political demographic. Not only that, but Thornberry’s yet another lawyer. Rayner’s had an ‘ordinary’ life, prior to politics.

      I don’t trust Thornberry anyway, to be honest. Can’t put my finger on what it is exactly, but there’s something about her triggers my alarm bells.

    2. Florence: I don’t know whether you know or not, but Emily Thornberry is an LFI member like Watson.

      1. Yes and she is also a member of the pro Palestinian parliamentary group too (the name escapes me atm). She was asked about that when she did a q&a in my CLP recently. She explained that she felt is was because she needed to be seen to be engaging with both sides, as that was the only position someone working for peace could take, ie like JC and Northern Ireland talking to both sides is the path to peace. I think, for her, its a reasonable position to take.

  9. I’m with you Toffee, Ange would be an excellent “Deputy Leader”.
    She has become one of Labours shining lights since her election and her shadow front bench positions of which there have been few.
    Onward and Upwards Angela, you have my vote along with all your constituents!

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