Watson ignores yet another NEC conflict of interest, tries to block candidates who blew whistle on ally

In a week of ‘appalling’ and ‘foul’ behaviour, Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson has heaped yet another conflict of interest on top of others that already challenged his fitness
Tom Watson

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson has attempted to hijack Labour’s disciplinary processes by demanding copies of complaints and updates on their status. He has been accused of inviting clear breaches of data protection – and even wanted complaint and member details to be sent to his private, non-Labour email address.

A ‘coincidental’ intervention

In addition, on Tuesday he made his first ever appearance at a meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) ‘Disputes Panel’ – which coincidentally was due to discuss serious allegations against one of Watson’s close allies: former Sandwell council leader Steve Eling.

Watson so disrupted the meeting with what was described by other NEC members as ‘foul’ and ‘appalling’ behaviour that the panel was unable to complete its business and the discussion of the case against Eling had to be postponed.

A troubling track record

While Watson intervened on Tuesday when not intervening would have threatened an ally, eighteen months or so earlier, Watson had refused to intervene when a sexually-harassed woman councillor had asked for his help against another ally – Richard Marshall, a close Sandwell associate of Eling. The woman councillor was forced to miss meetings to avoid meeting the man accused of abusing her.

Even more problematic

But Tuesday saw another, perhaps even more problematic Watson intervention involving another two councillors from the same Sandwell borough: Bob and Barbara Price.

The Prices quit the Labour Party in 2017 in protest as serial bullying of councillors, especially women, by senior figures in Sandwell Labour. One of the women, Councillor Yvonne Davies, was suspended from the Labour group for speaking out against the same Richard Marshall.

Cllr Davies – who has also accused Tom Watson of bullying her so badly that he made her ‘life a misery – and was recently readmitted after being fully exonerated. The Prices rejoined last autumn when the NEC’s investigation into complaints against senior Sandwell figures was announced.

During the party’s assessment of Cllr Davies’ case, Bob and Barbara Price gave evidence to investigators against one of the councillors who had behaved particularly aggressively toward Cllr Davies at the meeting where she criticised Marshall for his involvement in taking tens of thousands of pounds from a local widow. The Prices are now seeking to stand again in May’s local elections.

At the meeting, Watson spoke against the pair’s readmission to the ‘panel’ of candidates.

The aggressive councillor against whom the Prices testified is an employee of Tom Watson.

The SKWAWKBOX wrote to Watson:


You spoke against Bob and Barbara Price during Tuesday’s disputes panel. Barbara Price was a witness against [redacted] in Yvonne Davies’ complaint against him for bullying behaviour.

[Redacted] is your employee.

Do you acknowledge the conflict of interest?

He did not respond.

SKWAWKBOX comment:

In 2012, Tom Watson claimed a witness had given him “clear intelligence suggesting a powerful paedophile network linked to parliament and No 10”. The witness had not said this and in 2015 Watson was forced to apologise.

Watson does not appear to have learned any lessons from that experience. Earlier this year, he demanded the suspension of a whole CLP – a CLP the party said had acted within its rights.

This week, instead of recusing himself when complaints involving his ally were on the agenda, Watson disrupted the meeting so badly the case could not be decided.

And in the same meeting, instead of recusing himself from a case involving two opponents because of an equally clear conflict of interest, he tried to block their application to stand for the Labour Party.

Watson’s history, both recent and more distant, mean Labour cannot allow him anywhere near any disciplinary process – except the one he probably deserves to face himself for abuing his position and bringing the party into disrepute.

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  1. Let’s be frank: Watson should not be allowed anywhere near the deputy leadership, let alone any disciplinary process. If the party had not gone through the looking glass, Galloway and Livingstone would still be members, Marc Wadsworth wouldn’t have been expelled, Chris Williamson, Jackie Walker and others wouldn’t be suspended and Watson would, at best, be on a final warning and Blair, Mandelson and Campbell would have been shown the door long ago.

    1. Labre, you missed out Margaret Hodge. If any employee had spoken to someone else during working hours in that way (f… antisemite to JC) they’d have been facing instant dismissal for gross misconduct.

  2. Aren’t all NEC members anti Watson? What else would you expect, almost regardless of what he says!?

    1. Just as the OLD NEC under McNicol was a paragon of unbiased and fairness , no bias at all !
      There is a new and robust set of rules agreed at Conf this year that dictates the process and procedure that the NEC must follow .
      watsons behaviour and actions clearly show and prove he is biased , disingenuous and deceitful as they come .Not fit to be Deputy Leader never mind a representative of Labour , perhaps so in NU Labour under B’liar but not now
      GTTO Get The Twatson Out

  3. A lot of accusations & rumour & hiding behind data protection. Poor Luciana was ‘bullied’, perhaps that’s why he marches with her. Why did the NEC adopt IHRA definition of Anti-Semitism & will it ever be questioned or will the Labour Party remain pro-Zionist & anti-Palestinian?

    1. The full IHRA was adopted by the NEC on 4th September 2018 but was never put to Conference for a DEMOCRATIC DEBATE. It was probably nodded through in the NEC Report to Conference and that will be their reasoning. Many delegates were new to Conference and more seasoned attendees were not prepared to stick their heads above the parapet. Judging from the Pro Palestinian mood if it had come before Conference there would have been a reference back and a demand for a debate. We are now learning to our cost how members have been hog tied and silenced and a full blown witchhunt is underway.

      The key to all freedoms especially speech is eternal vigilance

  4. Clause VII page 4
    iv. The Leader shall have the right to attend any Party meeting (or to appoint representatives to attend on his or her behalf) in order to promote understanding and co-operation between all sections of the Party. v. The Leader shall, as a member of the NEC, uphold and enforce the constitution, rules and standing orders of the Party and ensure the maintenance and development of an effective political Labour Party in parliament and in the country
    Under the above Rule Jeremy should deal with Watson’s failure to comply and show of CONTEMPT for Standing Orders when refusing to comply with NO ELECTRONIC DEVICES allowed at NEC meetings.
    He also allegedly caused disruption to the business of the meeting.
    If I had been Chairing the meeting I would have insisted he leave for non compliance with the Rules.

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