IMPRESS rejects Watson complaint against SKWAWKBOX

Deputy Labour leader had alleged ‘harassment’ and breach of privacy
Tom Watson

Independent press regulator IMPRESS, the UK’s only Leveson-compliant regulator, has dismissed Labour deputy leader Tom Watson’s complaint against the SKWAWKBOX entirely.

Watson had complained about an article showing a form Watson circulated to attendees of his ‘Future Britain’ group meeting, which showed his ‘office mobile’ number.

The complaint cited sections five and seven of the IMPRESS code, alleging that the article constituted harassment – because Watson received a number of calls and messages from angry Labour members – and breach of privacy because of the number.

The SKWAWKBOX argued that Watson – as an elected MP and deputy leader of the Labour Party – should expect to be accountable to members but routinely blocks Twitter users who disagree with him and that the publication of a number described as an ‘office mobile’, could not be construed as a breach of privacy.

IMPRESS’ adjudication, published this morning, dismissed the complaint in all respects:

The conclusion of the report states:

The Harassment clause of the Code is intended to cover a pattern of behaviour involving intimidating, threatening or abusive journalistic and newsgathering activity. The Committee did not consider that the Publisher’s conduct nor the article as published went so far as to engage the Harassment Clause. Rather, as part of ordinary political discourse, it was legitimate for someone to contact a senior public figure and member of parliament to put forward their views. Furthermore, the sign-up form itself was an invitation for views and support of a political position. By merely encouraging readers to contact the Complainant, the Committee did not consider the Publisher went so far as to encourage readers to abuse, threaten or intimidate the Complainant. As a result, the Committee considered that in these circumstances the Publisher did not breach Code

…The Committee noted that the Complainant felt that the contact information provided on the form was private information, as he believed the information had not been widely circulated prior to the publication of the article. Furthermore, the Committee noted that the article referred to the form as being ‘leaked’, implying that the information had not previously been in the public domain. However, the sign-up form did not refer to the information on it as private or confidential. Instead, the contact number was referred to as an “office mobile”, which the Committee considered would be regarded as a public facing contact point by the ordinary reasonable person. Furthermore, the Committee understood that the sign-up form was circulated to other MPs by the Complainant in his capacity as a politician. The information was therefore not exchanged by the Complainant in a private capacity but rather in his capacity as a public figure. Therefore, the Committee did not consider, in this instance, that the Complainant had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the published information and therefore there could be no breach of Clause

The SKWAWKBOX welcomes the IMPRESS decision. The full adjudication can be read here.

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. Oh, unlucky! Poor old fatboy slime…He’s not having much go his way, recently, is he?

    Ah well twatson, you’ve still got steve h and dicky h who think you’re making a decent fist of undermining the party line on brexit – if it’s any consolation to ya, like. 😀

  2. Put simply, “harassment” – in law – constitutes two or more connected incidents. This was only one.

    Put even more simply, Watson knew this and was being angry and speculatively malicious. NOT a good look for a Labour Party Deputy Leader.

    Remove him now.

      1. ”It would be a mistake to underestimate Tom Watson.”

        Oh, aye?

        Spoken more in hope than in fact or as a warning. Just about everybody knows what the gawp’s about. He’s shown his hand far too many times and yet you’re warning us with an article from 2015?!

        Tell us, enlightened one, what ‘trick’ will he ‘perform’ next, that people won’t have already guessed within a nanosecond what he’s up to?

        Everything watson’s touched has turned to shite. Almost makes grayling look like Zhuge Liang’s equal. He’d bollocks up a disaster if it was left to him.

      2. The Toffee (597) at 2:53 pm

        I would argue that the article I quoted is almost as relevant today as it was the day it was published but if you want to put forward an alternative view by having another of your little rants then that is of course entirely your choice..

      3. Just read it Steve – seems like a piece of sycophantic crap to me.
        “Gentle yet firm, cuddly yet dangerous, geeky yet sensible” – poetic bollocks.
        And from 2015 – I wonder what the writer thinks today.

      4. Labour List (no – I’m not a subscriber, nor do I give it overwhelming credibility) – poll of c. 4000 readers. Favourite shadow cabinet members :

        1.Keir Starmer – 2,220
        2. John McDonnell – 1,958
        3. Emily Thornberry – 1,391
        4. Tom Watson – 1,298

        Soooo … just shouting at him and focusing attention on him has produced a result???

        I rest my case. (Which isn’t, BTW, one of being enamoured of Watson – to pre-empt the remedial class’s usual fiction as a way of dealing with cognitive dissonance).

  3. An hour in and not a peep form Waldorf and/or Statler…Wonder why?

    Oh, that’s right – watson’s demanding a 2nd referendum, isn’t he?

    1. Toffee, it’s perfectly possible to have a low opinion of Watson and be in favour of a confirmatory referendum. RH has made it clear that his opinion is exactly that.
      How is failure to post a comment here a sign you disagree with what’s been said?
      Anyway, I see TW’s failed complaint as a sign that he regards the Skwawkbox as a significant problem for him and takes it seriously. Excellent.

      1. ”RH has made it clear that his opinion is exactly that.”

        You knew who I was referring to then…


        ”How is failure to post a comment here a sign you disagree with what’s been said?”

        Oh, it’s easy. They’d have been quick enough to comment if watson had been jibbed by impress over a (direct) brexit issue.

        And isn’t it strange that people have noticed the pattern of them never appearing quite as keen to comment in condemnation of watson as they are to make calculated, sneering remarks – amongst their backhanded compliments – about Corbyn or the working class who put him there?

        No telling us they think watson’s out of order in this matter, too – but why would he be?

        Skwawkbox’s reports about party policy for brexit don’t tie in with their single agenda; watson’s trying to give them EXACTLY what they want, and their point blank refusal to condemn watson for his snide character flaws can be reasonably and safely interpreted as support for watson’s M.O. towards getting a 2nd referendum.

      2. Toffee: “You knew who I was referring to then…”
        Hard not to when the same crap’s in just about all your posts.
        Get some new schtick – you’re starting to come across like a Tourette’s kipper.

      3. I’m optimistic for you, Kevin Toffee. Of all life’s disabilities and inequalities, being a dickhead – even in severe cases – can be remedied.

        Let’s start at a simple level with with Lesson No.1 :

        “The Labour Party is a party of both working class and middle class members – who elected Corbyn as leader.”

        Lesson No.2 :

        “Watson is behaving like a twat, but he’s a Labour Party twat, elected by the members as Deputy Leader – just like Corbyn.”

        Lesson No.3 :

        “Most Labour Party members, like their supporters, are in favour of staying in the EU.”

        Lesson No. 4

        “In terms of Brexit, there is a major disconnect between policy and the Party and its support.”

        Lesson No. 5

        “The support for Labour is at a worryingly low level”

        I think that’ll do for now.

      4. That’s a succinct summary of our situation. On the plus side, Tories are in a much worse state and our lost support is(cross fingers) more easily recoverable – if we have a working economy left by the end of this.

      5. ”Hard not to when the same crap’s in just about all your posts.”

        Yes, but you could just as easily say the same for the other two….Only more so in their case because they post to the (almost) exclusion of everything else.

        As long as they keep spouting the same arld shite, I’ll be here, shouting spite.

        ‘Tourette’s kipper’ indeed. See below.

        As for ‘dicky’ hayward…

        Snide remarks about disability – Tick. Typical of the shithouse.

        At least my disability doesn’t extend to being unable to grasp that 17 million is quite a sum more than 83% of 0.5 million labour members….You can even add your 16 milion or your 35% or what have ya. It’s STILL not a majority.


      6. You keep digging, Kev – it’s what you’re good at (besides slamming doors).

      7. RH 15/05/2019 at 6:26 pm · ·
        You keep digging, Kev – it’s what you’re good at (besides slamming doors).

        (Next post, a full 25 minutes later with no post inbetween)

        RH 15/05/2019 at 6:51 pm · ·
        Oh FFS, Toffee. Just stop digging.

        U ok Hun?

  4. There is no place for egotists in our party. Good work Steve in standing up to these obstructive damaging people in our party.

    1. Tim, lots of politicians are like actors and lead singers – doing it for the applause. Politicians are the only ones trying to have their critics jailed though.
      It’s a profession with more than its fair share of egotists.

      1. “It’s a profession with more than its fair share of egotists.”

        You’re not wrong. But it’s just the prevailing weather – like ‘radical’ politics attracting a greater share of people who are coming to terms with parent issues.

      2. Err… my remarks were intended as criticism only of politicians, nobody else – and only because their fragile egos can adversely affect whole populations.
        We’re all egotists to some degree.
        May would claim her sense of duty keeps her hanging around but it’s not that – it’s ego.

  5. On PMQ’s today two points that define Labour and cheap and nasties
    We say rich have increased their income by £50 thousand million, they say top earners are paying more tax, we should then respond so why are you giving them tax breaks and cutting support for poorest
    Could also ask how much of the increase in income has gone offshore and ask them how much Russian money is pouring into Tory coffers

    1. Good point. I’m not sure about the value of PMQ’s, but Corbyn isn’t great at that sort of on-the-hoof response that would make May stumble.

  6. On PMQ’s
    Youth unemployment reduced by 50% my arse
    They have taken all 16 and 17 year olds out of the calculation, those guys cannot claim anymore,
    Similar con trick with self employed, you no longer qualify fir any help whatsoever as you are assumed to earn 35 x minimum wage
    So if you want to claim you have to close down your business
    Not called cheap and nasties for nothing

    1. Yes – anyone looking at the disparity between claimed employment figures and the actuality would suss that there’s a disconnect with reality. Definitions have indeed been warped.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: