On Friday evening, Labour Party general secretary Jennie Formby gave the party’s deputy leader a schooling, in her response to his grandstanding demand to take over the party’s disciplinary processes.
It was the third time this week that Watson had been put in his place by strong Labour women.
Watson has commented on Formby’s response in a clear attempt to justify his behaviour – but succeeded in scoring a huge own goal instead. Watson said:
The constant concern… is that there is no transparency about the process. This opacity and the delay in processing complaints has led to a complete loss of trust…
It is my responsibility as deputy leader of the Labour Party to ensure people have confidence in our complaints system… I will continue to do everything I can to achieve that.
Jennie Formby had written carefully to Watson pointing out the clear legal problems with his attempted intervention, informing him of his own and the party’s legal responsibilities under GDPR and Data Protection laws. Attempting to insert himself into the complaints process would not only breach Labour’s rules, but the law.
There are two commonsense interpretations of Watson’s words. Either he’s accepting that he can’t do what he loudly proclaimed he was going to do and he’s trying to save face – or he’s insisting that he’s going ahead anyway.
The first is an admission of defeat and that his grandstanding was ill-advised. The second is a statement that amounts to ‘I’m above the law’.
The first is a confession that Formby’s warning was correct that he was ‘polluting‘ the disciplinary process in an entirely ‘inappropriate‘ way – and the second is an insistence that he’s not subject to data laws that apply to the rest of us.
Both make Watson look a miniature next to Formby’s serious professionalism.
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