Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson went on record this week attacking the deselection of a number of councillors in his West Midlands borough of Sandwell, after Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) appointed other candidates in the borough.
Watson described the deselections as ‘outrageous‘, ‘brutal factional politics‘ and as “the hard left wreaking retribution on long serving councillors for no reason whatsoever“.
However, his claim that there is ‘no reason whatsoever’ for the deselections is looking a little thin today, after one of the deselected councillors refused to apologise for the use of misogynist language to a female colleage yesterday on Twitter.
Cllr David Hosell – who immediately resigned from Labour along with his wife in order to stand as independents – was one of the Sandwell Labour councillors who complained to the party about Cllr Yvonne Davies, resulting in her suspension – even though witnesses confirmed that Davies had been subjected to extremely aggressive behaviour by male councillors present. Cllr Davies was subsequently completely cleared and fully reinstated.
“She’s thick-skinned, she should be able to take it.”
Cllr Hosell took exception to a comment on Twitter by a local blogger about the abuse Cllr Davies had received – and repeated his claim that Cllr Davies had been abusive.
But when Davies joined the discussion to point out that she had been exonerated and reinstated, Hosell lashed out in astonishing terms:
Cllr Davies subsequently blocked Hosell on the social media platform.
The SKWAWKBOX contacted Cllr Hosell about his choice of language, but he was unrepentant:
She’s thick-skinned, she should be able to take it. It’s what she acts like, so I can’t withdraw that. It’s the only way to get to Yvonne… she’s that kind of person – if she’s put under fire she can’t take it. If I know anything about politics, that’s mild.
Yvonne Davies is the councillor who witnesses say was hounded out of a council meeting for criticising a now-disgraced ex-councillor – to the extent that she was even pursued into the car park. Allegations have been made that male councillors present falsified records of the meeting to incriminate Davies – and those allegations were not denied.
Cllr Davies has also said that Tom Watson ‘made [her] life a misery’ by bullying her, to such an extent that she changed wards in order to avoid having to interact with him.
The SKWAWKBOX contacted Tom Watson:
You’ve gone on record this week criticising the deselection of Sandwell councillors by the NEC. The outstanding complaints against Steve Eling are well known, but another of the councillors whose deselection you attacked, David Hosell, has refused this morning to apologise for calling a female colleague a “lid [sic] mouthed gutter wench who brings distress to every ward you’ve served” in a tweet.
In addition, Mr Hosell and his wife have already resigned from the Labour Party and announced their intention to run as independents.
1. do you condemn Mr Hosell’s language and refusal to apologise?
2. do you recognise that the NEC appears to have shown good judgment in deselecting Mr Hosell?
3. do you agree that the Hosells’ immediate resignation from the party suggests they were not that committed to it in the first place – and that again this would support the decision to deselect them?
No response had been received by the time of publication.
Watson has recently been heavily criticised by members of the NEC and others for ‘foul’ behaviour and interference in disciplinary proceedings concerning Eling and other Sandwell figures.
In February, he was taken to task by front-bench Labour MPs Emily Thornberry and Dawn Butler during a Shadow Cabinet meeting over his behaviour toward the party’s general secretary, Jennie Formby and for a cavalier attitude toward data protection laws.
Watson and the media have presented the deselections as “retribution for no reason whatsoever” – even though retribution by definition is payback for something.
But former council leader Steve Eling is currently suspended in relation to a number of serious complaints about his behaviour, including toward female councillors. Meanwhile, David Hosell’s comment this week to Yvonne Davies – and his refusal to apologise – lend support to the NEC’s judgment.
By contrast, they raise serious questions about Tom Watson’s judgment – and make his claims of ‘outrageous’ ‘factional politics’ look cheap and politically motivated.
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