Excl: Watson, Starmer accused of new coup – and spotted meeting privately

Labour sources have accused deputy leader and Shadow Brexit Secretary of Brexit-based ‘coup’ after ‘coordinated’ statements. Pair were also seen looking cosy in ‘off book’ meeting

On Monday, Labour’s Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer and deputy leader Tom Watson both made similar statements that any Brexit compromise Labour might agree with the government would have to be subject to a new ‘confirmatory’ public vote:

Watson even went as far as to claim that Labour is a ‘remain and reform party’.

Both men’s statements were at odds with Labour’s policy of enacting the 2016 referendum result, keeping any form of new public vote as a last resort if needed to prevent a damaging Tory Brexit or no-deal departure.

The statements – considered extremely damaging to Labour electorally with Farage’s Brexit party riding high in the polls – are also regarded by Labour insiders as evidence of a new attempted coup by so-called ‘centrists’ in the party.

A ‘Brexit coup’

Very senior Labour sources told the SKWAWKBOX that they were “appalled” at the pair and considered the statements evidence of a ‘Brexit coup’.

The SKWAWKBOX has also seen correspondence between figures at the highest level of the shadow cabinet discussing how to deal with the Watson problem, after months of Watson’s media comments and appearances undermining the party.

National Executive Committee (NEC) members told the SKWAWKBOX that members of Labour’s senior body are equally aghast – and that talk of a so-called ‘confirmatory vote’ is unfounded. One said:

We are not re-running the referendum. We are not ‘remain and reform’. Labour policy is to leave the EU and [the pair] went way beyond their brief.

Seen at Southbank

Are Labour insiders right – were yesterday’s statements coordinated to try to force Labour into a position on Brexit against the party’s policy and even to undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership ahead of what are expected to be difficult European Parliament elections next week?

There is evidence that may support their conclusion.

The SKWAWKBOX can reveal that Starmer and Watson were spotted in late February in a private meeting at Southbank in London:

The meeting took place on a Friday, when Watson might normally have been expected to be at his constituency in the West Midlands. Labour insiders were surprised to learn of the meeting between the two.

Both MPs were contacted for comment.


At the time of the meeting, Watson was publicly attempting to commandeer Labour’s disciplinary processes – while also meeting privately with representatives of the then-TIG group of MPs who had quit Labour and the Tories. Watson had also just put out a video shoring up the significance of the quitters after their disastrous launch was tainted by the first of several racism scandals.

Not a period when a senior Shadow Cabinet member might be expected to have a cosy private meeting with the destructive deputy leader.

But if the pair were spotted holding one such private discussion, how many more have they held – and was their ‘Brexit coup’ yesterday the result?

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  1. Skwawky spreading more division. No time for Watson but totally in favour of members wanting to put any deal back to the public, just as unions do with their members before they accept a proposal.

    Watson and Starmer meeting in public is surely not a reason to promote the coup nonsense.

    1. I agree with Jack
      Most comments on this issue are getting it wrong, sorry comrades.
      Starrner is NOT trying to undermine or still less to oust Jeremy. It’s NOT a coup this time- no way.
      What Most Momentum and Labour members want is, like me, a Public (not Peoples) Vote to stop Brexit -which is a viscous right wing policy against working people. We need to remain in and reform the EU.
      Our present EU electoral strategy policy is de toxifying the |Lib Dems. Labour should abandon LEXIT NOW for the sake of the entire CORBYN project
      There’s still time to turn these Euro elections around.
      You have the perfect reasons:
      The conditions (Bad May Deal or No deal) for the Public Vote option have been MET!!!!
      Come on Jez Do it !!!!

      1. Thank you Paul, for putting this out so clearly. Well done. It is the only way forward out of this mess.

  2. Wow two Labour Party members have met in a public space, and the media talk about a conspiracy….. Get real. Are people now not allowed to meet outside parliament if they so wish? It would have concerned me more if Keir Starmer had met with Boris Johnson.

    1. Given the two members involved, whom few on this site would trust not to stir the shit, it’s you who need to get real!

      1. In reply to Lundiel, It is true I cannot vote in Gerneral elections, but I can vote both in local elections and EU elections. So just get your facts straight please. Thank you.

      2. “just get your facts straight please”

        A polite ask that’s like asking for the moon where lundiel is concerned 🙂

    2. Haven’t they? We live in strange times. Who are our real friends? Look carefully. Regards.

  3. Labour List voting puts Starmer as their readers’ favourite. Replacing Corbyn with Starmer would be the end of any dream of a socialist govt..

    1. … Chance of a progressive government has declined steeply all the time that Labour has been shadowing the Tories on Brexit (- c.10% of vote share in 2 years : i.e a fall of 20%+ from the 2017 base). Seen in the recent loss of council seats at a potentially favourable time.

      That’s the reality. (And no – it’s not all about Brexit – but it is about the perception of the Party amongst its potential supporters)

  4. It is absolutely clear that there is something going on here
    Brigid Prentice a whip in the Blair government who stood down as an MP in 2010 has resigned from the party after 45 years in a blaze of publicity citing Brexit and anti semitism as her reasons. Her resignation letter can be read on line.
    Sheila Murphy a former aide and colleague of Luciana Berger has also resigned and is being lauded by the likes of Jess Phillips as a wonderful campaigner and a great loss to the party.
    Then there was the ” leak” from the PLP meeting that Wes Streeting openly called for Jeremy’s resignation.
    Last week Tony Blair launched a well publicised attack on Jeremy’s leadership ( wouldn’t worry about that as Tony’s criticisms can only increase Jeremy’s approval rating LOL).
    Now we have these two, Watson and Kier Starmer, united in calling for a public vote.
    While all this is going Labour is 9 points ahead in some polls, the Tories are in meltdown and Theresa May is still refusing to go thereby inflicting damage on her party every day.
    In these circumstances the behaviour mentioned above seems very strange until you remember that Tony Blair stated in 2015 that he’d rather lose a General Election than win it on a Socialist platform. Then it all becomes clear.
    We can expect further resignations ( of people nobody ever heard of) and smears in the coming weeks and days increasing in volume and viciousness as the Tory party troubles worsen.
    However we aren’t stupid – the motivation prompting the resignation and criticism is obvious. Mass resignations and smears didn’t work in the past and they won’t work now.

    1. We all know what Einstein said about doing the same thing and expecting a different result, but this lot doing the same thing time and again, expecting the same thing and it does not happen is equally mad.

      1. When will Jennie Formby and the admin of Labour, discipline these half witted members of the PLP from openly campaigning against the party in the same way as the do with ordinary members?

        The poor bloody infantry, who get these clowns elected are not allowed to bring the party into disrepute, (a catch all rule designed to remove Corbyn supporters). They are always subjected to the full force of the rule book and usually for far less than these duplicitous, gravy train riders.

        One rule for them another for the rest of the party. This has gone on for too long.

    2. Tell me, you do not think in all honesty that Blair is wanting a second bite at the cherry that is being PM?

  5. I don’t give a f**k what people say about this being just ‘a meeting’ , starmer – like watson – is slime, and not to be trusted.

  6. Wah! Wah!Wah! Infamy! Infamy! They’ve all got it in for me!

    Jeez! If half the energy was spent attacking Farrago and the ERG, there’s a slim chance that Labour might stop bombing in the polls!

    Watson (even if I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him) – like a stopped clock – can be right on occasion. Starmer is just usually more in tune with the Party and its voters than the policy, and does his best to nuance the essential contradiction!

      1. Exactly Timfrom – RH is clearly making it up as he goes along!

      2. When wrong – just shout ‘foul’!

        The actuality over 2 years, based on a month’s average poll results on the question of party support for Labour :

        June 2017 : 44%
        May 2019 : 28%

        Do check your facts – which even a quick look at the moving average of polls would contradict.

        Skwawkbox’s figures are, whilst correct, deceptive statistical shite in terms of Labour’s standing – which is what matters – as confirmed by the local election results. The lead only *looks* good because of the even greater disaster of the Tories.

        I repeat (without specifying reasons) – the showing is currently simply abysmal and worrying. Labour is simply less popular than it has been for a long time.

    1. Labour should stick with leave result and end all the crap mention of a second PV or confirmatory vote (same thing).
      If it supports the latter could end up like Pasok.
      If supports the former could have a GE landslide.
      Would help to have 620 left wing democratic socialist candidates behind JC.

      1. And be in the position of inheriting an utterly broken and divided nation heading for an abyss, with no possible way of stopping the economy totally crashing. … brilliant 🤦🏻‍♂️

  7. I see the comments section remains as divisive, disrespectful and childish as ever. All the talk is of the Tory party being destroyed but LP is doing a good job of destroying itself and certainly its credibility.

  8. Keir Starmer (next leader of the Labour Party?) & Jeremy Corbyn’s deputy share a meeting to discuss…………what do you think Jack? Only person missing was Mary Creagh who also wants to be leader.

  9. I suspect most of us here see ouselves as being on the left of the Party but as often happens, the silly left steps in and eats their own babies because they see anyone who disagrees with them as being closet right wingers. It’s about time they grew up and used brains instead of slogans and abuse.

    I was at the pro-Palestinian demo at the weekend and while standing reading a copy of the Socialist Worker which had just been given to me, a guy from one of the other ‘Socialist’ groups came up and said don’t read that, read this. I said why? and he said because we want to introduce Socialism by revolution. I said violent revolution? and he said yes if necessary. This is the stupid length some people will go to, not realising there is little difference between them and the far right. Idiots, the lot of them, not a brain between them.

    1. A fine example to everyone of how to refrain from abusing others, Jack…

      1. I take it you don’t agree that those in our society who want to stir up violence are idiots and to want to introduce Socialism using violence is idiotic? …. very strange.

  10. Of course I agree Jack, but in your first post the guy said “if necessary” which you now build into “wants to.”
    If the Tories or Prime Minister Yaxley-Lennon use troops or far right bully-boys against us will I use violence in defence of socialism?
    If necessary.

    1. If the Tories or Prime Minister Yaxley-Lennon use troops or far right bully-boys against us will I use violence in defence of socialism?

      Only in my own self defence.

      However, I would point them firmly in the direction of steve h & dicky h, as it is their ‘socialism’ (i.e. We’re right and you’re wrong, right?) will have – and indeed, HAS – been behind the rise of extreme right and authoritarianism, through their own self-appointed authoritarianism

      Their point blank refusal to accept the referendum result and the shite they spout (giving plenty of ammo to the far right) reminds me exactly of the heil or the excess with their shitstirring on immigrants, as soon as one’s physically attacked it’s ‘nowt to do with us, guv’.

      Of course, I expect we’ll hear the word ‘appeasement’ and the idiots comparing themselves to churchill, next.

      I mean, ’twas only last week steve h told us it was because of those brave remainer types we have the NHS , F complete and utter FS!

      1. Not even on Planet Zog now – more orbiting around it in a total vacuum.

        Kevin as a rambling space object totally detached from contact with solid things.

    2. David, you are wandering off into the realms of fantasy. There is a big difference between instigating violence and responding to violence. And in the conversation I had with our ‘Socialist’ friend he clearly meant a violent revolution if his/their plans were rejected.

      However, your comment tried to show hypocrisy on my part and it clearly failed.

  11. “Only in my own self defence” is fine, Fudgey, you just make sure you’re near the back. From there they might not notice you running away – they’ll be busy surrounding me.
    Don’t worry about it, you did your best.

  12. Jack – not fantasy, history.
    The question you apparently failed to ask is “What would make violent revolution necessary?”
    Are you saying there’s no degree of oppression you wouldn’t accept peacefully?
    I ask because historically, the more is accepted, the more is doled out.
    Bully boys and wannabes are like that.

  13. Oh, and Toffee? To be guilty of authoritarianism wouldn’t one need to be in a position to exert authority?
    “Pointing them firmly in the direction of X” generally gets people condemned as collaborators.
    The only things “behind the rise of extreme right” are itself and UKIP which gave it a faux-political face.
    To argue that anyone on the left opened that door is infantile, shocking and something I’d hope all contributors here would condemn.

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