Spin starting already as Labour right tries to mask NEC Brexit loss

MPs and ‘Labour sources’ spinning Corbyn’s victory on Brexit stance as if it means the opposite

Jeremy Corbyn won a resounding victory this evening when Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) – in spite of the unavoidable absence of a number of left members – voted by a clear margin to stick to Labour’s conference policy on Brexit in its European election manifesto.

Tom Watson and his allies were using a misrepresentation of the policy to claim the party must commit to a so-called ‘confirmatory vote’ (CV) on any Brexit agreement – a new referendum by another name, since CV-proponents claim it must be included.

Labour’s policy position is to reserve the option of a new vote as a last resort if there is no other way to prevent a ‘Tory’ hard Brexit and the ‘hard border’ within Ireland that would come with it.

It was a humiliating defeat for Watson, who had built up to today’s meeting by pushing loudly and shamelessly for a ‘CV’ on mainstream and social media.

But CV-proponents have already started trying to ‘spin’ the defeat – largely by pretending it didn’t happen and ‘welcoming’ the result as if it meant something else entirely.

One MP tweeted that she was:

Glad that Labour NEC has agreed confirmatory vote, in line with party policy, for our European election manifesto

even though no such thing had been agreed.

The BBC’s Iain Watson came closest to telling it straight:

However, his language could have been a lot plainer – and he omitted the obvious point that a “caveated referendum… IF the Conservatives don’t change their deal or concede an election” is exactly the unchanged ‘conference policy‘ that Labour decided in Liverpool last September and which Corbyn wanted to retain. Still, he made the point about Watson’s defeat with admirable clarity.

SKWAWKBOX comment:

Corbyn – and Labour – emerged from this afternoon’s NEC meeting even stronger. Tom Watson emerged even further diminished – and no spin can disguise the fact.

His position is untenable. If he has any decency he will step down or at the very least trigger an election for his position, if he thinks he has any support – as Labour members have long been calling on him to do.

The SKWAWKBOX needs your support. This blog is provided free of charge but depends on the generosity of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal or here for a monthly donation via GoCardless. Thanks for your solidarity so this blog can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.

If you wish to reblog this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.


    1. If you don’t want go to the site it reads as follows:
      Corbyn wins Labour Brexit fight: Second referendum will now only be a last resort after party’s ruling body agrees new policy and leader defeats Tom Watson

      1. The headline is factually incorrect. The Labour policy has not changed. Any new vote remains on the table to stop any further damaging Tory policies.

        The inequality report of the state of the UK and recent headlines in respect of the care crisis highlight just a couple of areas in which the Tory government is damaging the UK.

        This paper often prints factually incorrect information. I have been involved court actions (which this government and the former coalition government has lost) to stop NHS configuration changes which have been corrupt. These stories (and they are not news just stories) can cause wide spread damage which takes years to repair. These stories come from those who support and benefit from corruption.

    2. I can’t help but wonder if the reason it’s being reportedly ‘accurately’ is because it’s just prior to the local council elections and, as such they didn’t feel they could misrepresent it so close to said elections. And ditto the BBC and whoever else.

      1. that should of course read…… reported ‘accurately’

  1. Or we could be proactive for a change and someone could just challenge Tom Watson for his job.

    1. Your suggestion that we are proactive in seeking a new deputy leader is obviously not motivated by a desire to advance our party.
      With the Tories in chaos and a General Election likely within months are you seriously suggesting we enter into a 3 month deputy leadership contest?
      In 2016 thanks to Hilary Benn, Margaret Hodge, Ann Coffey ,Owen Smith, Lisa Nandy, Angela Eagle and others we let the Tories off the hook. They were leaderless and in turmoil and instead of capitalising on this we wasted 3 months listening to Owen Smith starting every sentence with ” I agree with Jeremy but …”.
      So while a Deputy Leadership challenge would be welcomed by the Tories and other enemies of Socialism we are not going to play their game this time.
      Tom Watson is well aware of the damage a deputy leadership challenge would cause and knows but he won’t have to answer for his despicable behaviour just yet. Actually I don’t think he ever will face us for what he has done. I think he will eventually resign and complain about purges and bullying rather than face a challenge and likely deselection.
      If we were to challenge him now it would be a waste of valuable time and resources and a distraction from our campaigning against Tory Austerity which is exactly what our ill wishers ( like you?) want.

      1. Which brings us around again as to whether the party is proactive or reactive. Do we accept a little short term pain for long term gain or do we let the malignancy gain strength and spread from within. The question you have to ask yourself is “Do you trust Watson not to undermine Labour’s election prospects.?” Your answer to this should give you the answer as to whether he should go now or later. If he isn’t got rid of this summer we will be stuck with him for another year.

        The only power Watson has is bestowed on him by virtue of his position within the party. The membership gave him his power and we can take it away just as easily (we just need the support of 20% of MPs and MEPs to start the process off)

      2. Smartboy, you make some reasonable points about a deputy leader election possibly being a divisive distraction. But you hugely undermine any argument by making the ridiculous suggestion that those who disagree with you are enemies of socialism and ill wishers.
        Why not make your points without the venom?

      3. Reply to Steve H
        For the reasons previously given it would be very foolish to trigger a Deputy Leader contest at this time. I fully understand that some members are fed up with Tom Watson and genuinely want to see the back of him but those members need to be patient as a Deputy Leader contest at this time would not be in our best interests. Others who are calling for a challenge most definitely have not got our best interests at heart. They are calling for a Deputy Leadership election solely to cause us damage. Only you know your motivation for making such a call so I’ll leave it at that.
        Reply to Simon Dewsbury
        It was not my intention to be venomous. Neither do I think that those who disagree with me are ill wishers or enemies of socialism. However it cannot be denied that there are many people who wish us ill and whose purpose is to prevent a Socialist Government. Don’t forget Tony Blair said in 2015 that he would rather lose an election than win it on a Socialist platform. What better way to throw away our chances of a Socialist Prime Minister than to launch into a potentially divisive deputy leadership contest on the eve of a General Election?

      4. smartboy 30/04/2019 at 8:19 pm

        I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this.

      5. I think that the 20% figure of MPs for triggering a contest means that it’s unlikely to happen at the moment.

      6. ” a General Election likely within months ”

        Dream on. The Tory turkeys might be a lot of things, but they don’t vote for Christma

      7. We don’t have to have a deputy to fight GE, or do we? Regards.

  2. It really is coming to something when the BBC and the Daily Mail who consistently set out to demonise and undermine Jeremy Corbyn are more truthful about the situation than a wing of our own party.

  3. The game is up for Tom Watson. He has just used his last ounce of political capital.

    He promised to support the leader one hundred percent when he stood as deputy leader but has spent the last four years attacking and undermining the party, its leader and membership.

    Tom Watson is a liar who deceived members’ to steal their votes. He is not fit to hold any type of public office.

    He is a conman, a grifter, no better than a common thief.

    1. The game is only up for Watson if someone stands against him, thereby allowing the membership to vote.

      If not it is all hot air.

      1. Why not de-select him? It is his seat in Parliament that gives him the position which the capitalist press can use to make mischief with him. As a former MP de-selected by his own party he would make Chuka look credible in comparison.

      2. bevin 30/04/2019 at 9:59 pm

        Sounds like a great idea but his CLP would require permission from the NEC to start the process. I think Tom Watson is a union sponsored MP so there may be some resistance from the NEC.

        It is disappointing that the unions have refused to embrace OMOV Mandatory Re-Selection. Something they may well regret when after the next GE we have a Corbyn government that is constantly undermined by dissident MPs still within the party. Or worse still they bring a Corbyn government down by crossing the floor en-mass soon after being newly elected. We should not underestimate the deviousness or commitment of the ‘usual suspects’

    2. Internal Affairs 30/04/2019 at 6:50 pm

      It’s high time someone challenged Tom Watson for his job.

      1. It’s just not going to happen. A few will not do it due to having sympathy with his cause. Others will argue that now isn’t the time, that there is more important issues. Others will be frit, after all, Watson is the guy who knifed Bloat.

  4. For a while, sadly, our deputy leader has been a bit of side show – but today’s reports from the mail and the BBC suggest that he has no longer anycredibility with the right wing media, so – at this time – it’s probably better to sigh with a gentle shake of the head and move on; he isn’t worth obsessing about – and he certainly isn’t worth the damage that a deputy leadership election could cause.
    It’ll wait. There’s a conference coming up … of course he might go too far and get expelled; but I suspect whoever is pulling his strings is too smart for that.

    1. “he isn’t worth obsessing about”

      Indeed. I keep thinking that fulminating about Watson is a displacement activity rather than a useful pursuit.

    2. The media won’t stop talking to TW because they know that he’s always good copy because of his deep hatred of JC. Any invention, any rumour and slander, he just gulps it down and spews it out. He is not an analytical intellectual but a mace of bile. Regards.

  5. Maybe the people who’ve been pulling his strings have finally realised he might be more of a liability to them than he is to Labour.
    That’s the trouble with Quislings – they don’t have loyalty, just self-interest. If things get tight they’ll rat on their masters with the same equanimity they ratted on their ‘friends’.

  6. From May say Quotes.
    “Labor disgraces no man. Unfortunately, you occasionally find men who disgrace labor.” -Ulysses S. Grant

  7. At ChangeUK press conference yesterday a speaker,when talking about elections,said he wanted to “raise the elephant in the room”. Mike Gapes was the next to speak.

  8. So much spin on twitter by usual blairites. Paul Mason joining as well. Is he AWL? His journey from a socialist to the right wing medias rent a gob was quicker than the aborted coup in Venezula.

    1. Why does Watson remind me of Juan Guaido?

      Is it because both are in positions protected by powerful interests from getting their comeuppance, but will soon meet their fate anyway?

      1. Are they both on a fitness and self love video? Regards

  9. ” … blairites. Paul Mason joining as well ..journey from a socialist to the right wing medias rent a gob”

    Sloppy and meaningless comment.

    1. Ah, yes RH but it maintains ideological purity! You’re forgetting that anyone who isn’t a hardline leaver is ipso facto a Blairite.

  10. OMOV Mandatory Re-Selection, has to be discussed again at the 2019 Conference. There is more at stake than the removal of the present Deputy Leader.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: