Embarrassed Watson storms out of Shadow Cabinet after carpeting for policy gaffe

Speechless Watson flees meeting of Labour’s top team after ‘shitshow’
Embarrassed: Tom Watson

A humiliated Tom Watson fled today’s meeting of Labour’s Shadow Cabinet after a string of colleagues put him right for a fundamental misunderstanding of Labour policy.

Watson appeared as a speaker at Saturday’s march by supporters of a new referendum, but was booed for telling them he’d support Theresa May’s deal in return for another public vote.

He doesn’t do detail.”

However, during today’s meeting he was forced to endure a queue of Labour MPs telling him that this was not Labour’s policy and explaining his error. After sitting in silence while colleagues put him straight, Watson simply got up and left the meeting early.

A Labour insider told the SKWAWKBOX:

Tom seemed to have jumped the gun in applying the Watson-Kyle amendment – but Labour’s not going to be supporting it in its current form and any mention of supporting May’s deal will be removed if we’re going to back the amendment, because our policy remains to defeat her disastrous deal by any means. During the whole time he was being put right, he didn’t say a word – and then he just got up and walked out.

Tom seems to have missed or misunderstood the policy. He doesn’t do detail.

Tom Watson could not be reached for comment.

Update: Watson’s reaction and silence may also have had something to do with the impending revelations about his failure to act when his chief of staff was accused of racism.

SKWAWKBOX comment:

Watson’s appearance at Saturday’s march appeared to most Labour supporters to be an attempt to undermine or derail Labour’s policy. Even more embarrassingly, many of his colleagues believe he spoke – amid all that booing – because he simply didn’t understand it.

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  1. I’m totally with Watson on this; an awful lot of the Jeremy Corbyn Brexit supporters just don’t get how strong the feeling is amongst those of us members who honestly believe Brexit will be disastrous for the Labour Party. I don’t know who the staunchest of staunchest Jeremy fans mix with socially, but I don’t know anybody who supports Jeremy’s chosen way forward on Brexit . All those I speak to, of whatever Political Party, tell me he’s way out of touch. Times they are a changing, and Labour’s being left miles behind. To use the numbers cited on these threads, 250,000 voices who attended Saturdays events can’t just be ignored. Jeremy Corbyn said he was the listening leader. I don’t hear himhim listen totof all the Labour Party members, just those who agree with him.

    1. You should have given this post a title: “The Usual Nonsensical Attack on Jeremy Corbyn.” A banal yawn from start to finish. And anyone “with Watson” on anything is someone out of touch and being left miles behind.

      1. I’ll do a translation of your post :

        “Joe’s right. There’s a lot of concern that the Labour leadership is not up to speed with a fast changing scene.

        But the Brexy wish-brigade like me prefer to ignore the obvious (and the majority view of the Party and its voters), by ignoring anything that doesn’t suit, even if it’s written in block capitals.

        Now – excuse me whilst I yawn, because I’m really dozy”

        Good to see more representation from typical Labour here.

      2. Craig, are you inviting me to leave the Labour Party?

      3. @RH I see you are still falling into the hard remain trap of thinking that because you want to remain in the EU, the Labour party should ignore all those who don’t.

        I also want to remain in the EU. But I think your approach to the issue is as disastrous as that of the hard Brexiteers.

      4. Ultraviolet – I’m sorry, but that’s just nonsense. A choice has to be made – you can’t satisfy both sides in a binary choice. By definition.

        It is the Remain majority in the party that is currently ignored, not the Brexiteers, who are represented by both major Parties!

        Apart from that, it makes electoral sense to distinguish the Party from the Tories instead of chasing the same vote.

      5. @RH NOW you want to distinguish the party from the Tories? If they had tried that in 2015, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

        Yes, it is binary. And remain lost. After a general election, nobody says, “well, a majority voted for other parties, so you can’t implement your agenda, you must compromise with the other side.”

        But there are different forms of Brexit, all in my view worse than remaining, but some a lot worse than others. The form Labour are proposing is the least damaging, and represents the compromise with the Remain side; the form the Tories are proposing is the most damaging and uncompromising.

        People like you who ignore leave voters and pretend that Labour and Tory approaches to Brexit are the same when they are actually completely different are doing immense damage to the party; and I can’t help but assume it is deliberate and is the latest attempt by the right to get rid of Corbyn.

      6. Ultraviolet – You have fallen into the propaganda trap that compares a one-off constitutional referendum to a periodic general election. It doesn’t take much contemplation to recognise the illogic in this.

        Just for starters, if it is like a simple majoritarian general election, then it must come with the provision of a periodic re-run.

        If it isn’t, then a majority needs to be convincingly demonstrated for a constitutional change. That happened in 1976, and is normal procedure for changing a constitution.

        The elevation of a minority vote to a binding requirement is incredibly flawed in normal constitutional terms – and is simply an adjunct to a lying right-wing con.

    2. If Watson is going to veer away from party policy he should resign from his shadow cabinet position as deputy leader.

    3. I also think Brexit will be a disaster.

      But what you fail to grasp is that it is not Corbyn’s job to pander to us. It is his job to find a way to move forward, in the face of having little control over what actually happens with Brexit, in a way that will keep on board as many people from both sides of the Brexit debate as possible.

      He has worked the party round to the point where it is opposing both May’s deal and no deal, and has said that a second referendum would be a valid means of stopping either of those disasters from happening.

      His “Mansfield and Tottenham” speech was a move towards explaining to communities that voted leave that the EU is not the cause of their problems, and whether we remain or leave, there are other things that need to be done to address the country’s problems.

      This is all designed to get the party to a point where it can eventually adopt remaining in the EU as policy without alienating huge numbers of leave voters.

      The idea that the party could jump straight to “screw you, leave voters, we’re just ignoring you” is politically naive.

      1. I am really worried what I’m hearing on the ground in areas like Blackpool, Bolton and Bury. Life long Labour voters, who again voted Labour in 2017 saying they will not vote Labour again if Corbyn isn’t listening to them, and they don’t think he is! In my humble opinion, he’s only listening to those, re Brexit, who support his view. The UK of 2016 is very different to the UK of 2017 which, in turn, is very different to the UK of 2019.

      2. Very well said Ultraviolet, full support from me for your comment

      3. @ Joe I worry about that too. But there is simply no path forward that doesn’t alienate somebody.

        What I do find galling is comfortably-off remainers who can survive another few years of Tory Government vowing to not vote Labour, thus letting the Tories win again, and completely screwing over those who desperately need Labour in power. I really have a lot of contempt for them.

      4. “there is simply no path forward that doesn’t alienate somebody.”

        You are absolutely right,and we should never have got to this point. But we have – sadly, partly as a result of Labour lack of nous in falling over itself to ‘more Brexit than thou’ the Tories.

        But we are here – and to turn things round – or, at least have a go – would have required foresight and bottle – as well as an ability to tell it as it is re. Brexit – always an omnishambles in the making.

      5. Ultraviolet. To say to ALL voters “It’s three years since you voted and a lot has happened since then, this is such an important issue we want to know if you feel the same as you did when you first voted,” is not ignoring anyone.

        Those who do not want to give people a chance to express their opinion again have no respect for democracy. Of course the cry will come up “we’ve already had our vote” to which the answer is o.k. stick to your first choice but don’t deny others the chance to change if they wish.

    4. And there again JK there are equally numerous members who honestly believe that leaving will allow Labour to implement it’s policies and not be frustrated by the Neoliberal EU .I think JC is a far better listener than Blair ever was and this IMO has been reflected in the improvement of Labour standing . JC elected twice over , and under JC we went from terminal irrelevance to nearly wining the election and had it not been for the Blairtes activities ensuring vital funds were not used in winnable seats , we would have . I’ve no doubt we will this time , because Brexit or Lexit or any other exit what comes first is uniting to GTTO .
      Something watson by his constant actions seems happy does not happen .
      Contrast that with the actions of say Clive Lewis , open about his support for remaining BUT at least he is loyal to Corbyn and supports the Leadership .

      P.S a reminder …..
      ( source https://inews.co.uk/news/politics/every-leave-constituency-with-a-remain-mp/ )

      West Bromwich East

      Leave vote: 68.2% ( is watson really in touch with his electorate ? )

      MP: Tom Watson (Labour)

      He voted to trigger Article 50

      And now suddenly he jumps on the”lets cancel the A50 ” bandwaggon and we must remain in the EU …….
      We are all allowed our POV and I respect your stance , I don’t agree with it and remain to be persuaded that remaining will allow Labour to effect it’s policies .

      1. You are totally ignoring what has happened since the GE and Corbyn’s election. Given the circumstances, Labour is in a poor position.

      2. Given the circumstances ( of continuous manufactured smears from within the party and outside and trumped up lies/distortions by the MSM and the establishment ) it is somewhat astounding at just how relatively good a position labour is in at present . It is in a far far stronger position under Corbyn that it ever would have been by now under the Blairites .
        Perhaps ignoring the fact that It no doubt could be substantially better if the underminers like watson and others actually started supporting it.

    5. What a load of nonsense. The most important goal at the moment is to get a GE and throw the #CorruptTories out on their ear. Labour is leading the way to a better Britain.

      1. Couldn’t agree more about a general election.

        But then you have to win it, and Labour is currently in a worse position than at the time of the last GE. That’s not ‘leading’. It’s ‘trailing’.

        … and before anyone starts picking the odd cheerful poll result – I’m talking about the moving average of polls – a standard statistical method of smoothing anomalies and revealing underlying patterns. Of course – that can change – but in needs a push to do so.

        Although I disagree with Joe about Watson being ‘right’ (I think he’s a dishonest chancer), I think his observations about where Labour voters are – are spot on.

        There is no point in dishonestly pretending to ‘honour the referendum’. Really ‘honouring’ it would recognise that Brexit is, and always was, a pursuit of a minority of the electorate … which is why the majority of Labour voters are pretty pissed off. The country is split, and there is no way that the present dog’s dinner will change that.

        At the moment, Labour is widely seen as irrelevant, and is widely ignored – and, despite the black propaganda that it has suffered, standing around whining about the media and the Blairites, with hands in pockets and whistling the Red Flag, isn’t going to change that fact.

        I, like many others, want Corbyn to succeed as an alternative leader to May. At the moment he’s not, despite his sterling qualities. Yes – that has much to do with the campaign against him – but it’s not the whole story.

      2. We will win the Ge. Uncle Tom, will be booted out and we will never hear from the dripping red hands again. Regards

    6. After 3 years of constant betrayal and abuse he is still standing, he deserves support , he has earned my trust and support. Much of the betrayal and abuse has come from his own side, we should remember that.

    7. You’re from the South aren’t you? There are still one or two up in t’north who are still leavers and we had a great big thing to choose. We won by lots but we ain’t very clever so if you ask nicely we will change our minds so we can be surfistikated.

  2. Watson perhaps illustrates mediocrity?
    Jeremy’s doing a good.
    Customs union & Brexit perhaps best option in my opinion with democratic control labour & capital supply, migration adjustment funds councils, trade unionise migrant workers, and 1m Green jobs located in areas of industrial decline.
    We have had a Peoples Vote.
    Mary’s Deal is a Bad Deal.
    A No Deal could be a disaster.
    I reluctantly voted Remain to try to collectively break Neo-Liberalism in the EC but this option lost and the result in my view showed we had to try to build a left wing democratic socialist society as an example to other countries as independent nation states whilst building international cooperation anew outside the Neo-Liberal EC structure.
    We have to start dreaming again.

  3. It may have escaped notice but UKIP has overtaken the main remainers’ party, the Lib Dems, in the polls today. Failure by Labour to take both sides of the referendum debate with it will lead a) possibly to serious electoral damage (Labour remainers are not going to vote Tory but leavers may well desert Labour) and b) to a resurgence of the xenophobic, racist right in the form of UKIP and even worse. This is why a general election on the issues that really count in Britain is what we must be arguing for. Frankly, whatever anyone does in the next couple of weeks, we’re going to end up with Brexit in name only (May’s deal or some diluted version of it) or staying in the EU – so we’d be better getting on with the bread and butter issues.

    1. ” so we’d be better getting on with the bread and butter issues ”

      good point , out on the campaign for local elections , most are unsurprisingly more concerned with cuts to local services , green bin charges , school meals chopped and care homes sold off , well they are in my area . Brexit ,,,, pifft , they want Tories out ,we’re working bloody hard to make it happen so thanks for nothing watson another nice mess for us to defend .

    2. What an innumerate comment. The main Remainer party is Labour in terms of its membership and numbers of votes.

      …unless the effete niche market of the ERG supporting Lexiteers reduce it to a husk as a large chunk of the solid core just walk away.

      The idea that there is, in contrast, a large reservoir of Labour votes in Kipper land is pure fantasy.

    3. It’s either UKIP or the communist party for me from now on. I can’t believe that I’m going to have to vote for a party I’m not interested in, but what choice do I have?

      Tories? HoHoHo…

      Labour? Not a prayer. Just the Jackie Walker episode alone makes me queasy.

      Brexit is the icing on the cake. It’s shown that all 650 MPs are useless.

    4. ” UKIP has overtaken the main remainers’ party, the Lib Dems, in the polls today.”

      Also worth saying – if you’re into single poll results, that this a poll that shows a drop in Labour support from its recent much-lauded high point.

      … so Kipper land is giving votes to UKIP, not Labour, I guess. Quod erat …. etc.

      That’s the trouble with grasping at straws. They’re fragile.

      I notice that the most recent casualty of the policy morass is the lauded Barry Gardner, who is the latest to desperately oppose any sensible way out of the current nonsense that might align with Labour members’ and voters’ views.

      Not a great day for the Party on top of the NCC debacle and solidly stuck poor poll performance..

      1. But I note that sense has prevailed. For now.

        “Labour has now put out a statement effectively confirming that it is backing the Becket confirmatory referendum amendment.”

  4. Meanwhile – as the initiative on Brexit dribbles away, in another part of the wood, the Watson/JLM nexus actually remains firmly dominant over questionable process.

    Breaking news from the JVL website :

    “Today (March 26) Jackie Walker was forced to withdraw from a Labour Party disciplinary hearing when the panel due to pronounce on her case refused to allow her to make a short opening statement in her defence. This was essential given the party’s refusal last week to deal with urgent questions from her lawyers about alarming last-minute additions to the charges against her.

    (See : https://www.jewishvoiceforlabour.org.uk/blog/why-jackie-walker-has-withdrawn-from-lp-disciplinary-hearing/ )

    My decision to withdraw from this hearing

    “Faced with an inherently racist disciplinary process where the evidence of abusive racists is relied on by the LP to prosecute me; faced with multiple examples of a grossly unfair process in the investigation and prosecution of my case and the conduct of my case at the NEC and NCC Panel stages; faced with the discriminatory secrecy of the Panel appointed by the LP to hear my case; and faced with the prejudicial public statements by Labour MPs preventing my ability to have a fair hearing, I am left with no confidence whatsoever in the ability of the LP to conduct a fair disciplinary process.

    I am expected to appear before an unfair Panel where the LP has ridden roughshod over my rights in its headlong blinkered hankering to expel me from the Party to satisfy the wishes of those who are not involved in the detail of my case but who have judged me unfairly and have already condemned me.

    I have spoken of a lynching and a witch hunt. If I were in a fair, independent and unbiased court I would say “I rest my case”.

    In such an unfair and biased process I do not now recognise the ability of the LP disciplinary process to investigate and try my case with the equality and blind fairness everyone should expect of a democratic process that recognises the primary importance of the rule of law and fair due process.

    “As a result of the truly astonishing decision this morning to prevent me from even addressing the disciplinary panel at the outset in my own defence, I was left with no option but to withdraw from the disciplinary process”


  5. Shit, shit, shit I HATE feeling ashamed of Labour.
    Not going to burn my membership card outside Head Office or cancel the standing order yet, never going to vote with the S*n readers, kippers or Tories but if the party doesn’t stop crawling on its belly dragging a “kick me” sign I’ll definitely be pissed off enough to leave before long.
    I’ve dumped long time friends for grovelling less obsequiously to power.

    1. I have to agree David,there does come a point where enough is enough,but not yet.

    2. David. Just as an addendum. After my partner had read the JVL article, her reaction was almost identical to yours : “I’m not sure how much longer I can stay a member of the Labour Party”.

      The reaction was the summation of the Jackie Walker affair on top of the Brexit issue.

      I have, however, suggested that it’s better to be the internal awkward squad.

  6. Regarding the appalling treatment of Jackie Walker, those in control of the machinery of the Labour Party are either totally incompetent or they are Zionists who are determined to eliminate from the Party anyone who presents a danger to their power and control within the Party.

    It’s beyond doubt now that those in most danger of being expelled are Jews who are anti-Zionist.

  7. This is not right , I am trying to think of the reasons , any , that might the cause of such a decision. Perhaps its to try and show complete impartiality in any outcome . If Jackie was found not guilty , and has been involved somehow in the decision process then those with mal-intenet could make a case . Its a very tenuous hypothesis as she can’t really , not be involved in the case !! I just don’t know or understand the thinking and leads me to the conclusion that there is still something very wrong with the process or the way in which it is being applied .
    This needs justification and explanation from the Disciplinary panel and if it’s not forthcoming then there must be a motion to Conference this year of NO confidence in the process.

  8. So they are going to take out Theresa May’s name, but still refer to her agreement unchanged, otherwise the Kyle amendment is supported? It seems like window dressing, but if it works, I’m for it.

    The point is we need to remove the possibility of Brexit. If Labour enable it it will allow the Tories to deploy disaster Capitalism, stain our character like Iraq decision, and lose us many votes in the process!

  9. David, Jack, Rob – The first thing to say is that with me included – it’s a pretty divers collection of souls that have exactly the same reaction. ‘There is something rotten …,’

    – and the other quotation that comes to mind is that of Martin Niemoller ” First they came for …” etc. And the line Then they came for the Jews …” is horribly prescient, since Jewish left-wing activists have been particularly targetted along with their supporters like Chris Williamson.

    I think your remark, David, encapsulates my first gut reaction pretty well. We are talking about part of the core administration of the Party, and it is not fit for purpose, despite work done.

    There has been time to grovel to the Israel lobby in adopting the dysfunctional IHRA definition -but, evidently not time to institute due process that hobbles ‘accusers’ of ill intent.

    Jack – your question of of whether the pro-Israeli lobby (I’m using that more precise term) is still in charge is – bluntly – answered. Even if the control isn’t direct.

    And Rob – you are spot on. I can’t imagine that Jackie Waker’s actions
    are a frivolous gesture after all this time, and knowing what I do about the dishonesty of the accusers and the bias and lack of transparency of the process. Indeed :

    “This is not right”

    … and it isn’t what Labour is – or should – be about. The Party should be ashamed.

    1. Agreed RH but what to do . I think I am going to try and raise this at our next CLP meeting for discussion and hopefully some meaningful protest up to Region and higher .
      It feels pathetic ( almost like Reg and The Judean front in the Pythonesque sketch ) but what else immediately to do and more so its’ a way off till Sept Conf when there is a chance of something more concrete being done about it .
      Very concerning .

      1. I think that you’re right to do so, Rob – and I wish you well. If my worst fears come to fruition, I am afraid that the central bureaucracy will again try to stifle debate whilst continuing to allow all the right-wing/JLM odds and sods to shoot off their mouths.

        I hope I’m wrong, and I do think that people should stay with the Party (I’ve heard a few say they’ve had enough) and concentrate on being the awkward squad as far as perversions of natural justice by the lobby machine are concerned.

    2. It’s hard to be sympathetic to a Tory, and I disagree with a lot of the detail of what this woman says. In fact it’s largely bollocks. But I was struck by the import of a news item.

      My antennae were twitching at the way in which the right-wing pro-Israel nexus of the BoD etc. are once again using the ‘antisemitism’ charge to shut down debate that they don’t like.

      The issue is about the term ‘cultural Marxism’ – not something that would automatically instigate a pogrom on the street, and a term that, I would guess, is outside even the periphery of most individuals’ vision.

      It’s defined thus :

      “Cultural Marxism centres around a conspiracy theory that Marxist scholars of the Frankfurt school in inter-war Germany devised a manipulative programme of progressive politics intended to undermine Western democracies.

      Many of the academics of the critical theory movement were Jewish, and the idea of cultural Marxism is closely associated with antisemitic conspiracy theories.”

      Now, I don’t know about you, but the phrase “is closely associated with” smacks of ‘guilt by association’ – a far more dangerous notion than the obscure term ‘cultural Marxism’.


      1. P.S Am I getting too twitchy in noting that non-white people are over-represented in the attacks by the right-wing/pro-Israel lobby? It does gel with some of the internal prejudices within Israeli fundamentalist right since its ascendancy and its costing up to the far right elsewhere

  10. Back onto the Brexit track, there is an informative article in the Groan today.

    Now – I know the knee-jerk is to just be appalled at the Groan and pretend that nothing it publishes is a worthwhile read. I’ve been blocked from it’s blog – so don’t need any lessons about its prejudices, but this article from an EU insider is interesting in setting out the *actual* issues about negotiations.

    What those in favour of Brexit on the grounds of freedom from EU restrictions forget is that the same EU will have to be negotiated with in order to achieve alternative trade arrangements. And they aren’t going to offer a pick ‘n mix carte blanche. It’s all pretty obvious – but seemingly forgotten as we prepare to give up any direct influence.


    1. Interesting. Neither the Groan nor it’s arch-enemy, ‘The Canary’ have anything on the Jackie Walker hearing. ?????

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