1100+ Labour members sign letter of ‘disgust’ at Tom Watson’s Brexit behaviour

“One of the likely reasons we have lost support over Brexit, is because many MPs like yourself, refuse to put the case for our sensible compromise position”

An open letter to Tom Watson about his behaviour regarding Brexit – condemning it, detailing the damage it is causing and reminding him that he does not speak for Labour’s membership – has been signed by almost 1,200 Labour members in just three days.

The letter hits hard from the beginning, informing Watson of members’ “ever growing disgust” at his conduct and telling him that many Labour members object on principle to his attempts to railroad them and the party’s leadership into a position that would be an affront to the democratic socialism that Labour represents.

It reminds Watson that Labour is not the party of Liberals, who hold working-class voters in contempt – and that Labour cannot and must not adopt an anti-Brexit position that would make a mockery of it’s standing as the party of the many, let alone one that would inevitably cost the party the general election win that the many so desperately need.

Read the full letter here – and then sign and share.

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  1. May I congratulate Skwawkbox for finally drawing attention to Chelley Ryan’s Open Letter to TWatson, which has been doing the rounds for only a few days via Social Media.

    The Letter, which is of import to me, gives a counter-narrative to those, many posting on these Boards, that Labour Party members oppose our present stance on our relationship with Europe – the BTL section has attracted but a few negative comments, with most outraged at TWatson and the Remainiac Brigade, which is a million miles away from those, who for sound reasons, think Brexit is a mistake.

    I hope others will sign this Letter and show solidarity with the position our Party agreed at its September 2018 Conference, namely everything remains on the table to stop a No Deal Brexit, but, our priority as ever is to push for a General Election given Parliament itself is failing.

    1. The much maligned “No Deal” Brexit is the only way of regaining sovereignty over public ownership and state support to our industries.

      The indifference of many on the contemporary Labour “Left” over the right of UK governments to implement a democratic socialist economic programme shows how far they have succumbed to neoliberalism.

      1. Not really a no deal Brexit guarantees there will be no public ownership and little industry left to support either.

        The UK can designate any industry as strategically vital and support it exactly the same way France,Germany and many other countries do in the EU.

        It’s just that the Tories and New Lab did not want to.

        It’s hard not to be able to stretch the loophole to fit any industry when I think about it.

      2. in 2007 capitalism disappeared up its own backside, until our very own proctologists Brown and Obama saved the world
        then QE and zero interest rates blah blah blah
        bottom line is we live in a zombie economy, debt cannot be paid off in our lifetimes,
        the sky is black with the wings of chickens coming home to roost,
        we do not need to go for no deal, we do need to leave to avoid the worst of the crash when it comes and to implement manifesto commitments,
        we have waited since 1979 enjoy

      3. No one could refute the point about sovereignty, but the two points that Will C makes in his second paragraph, above, are pretty emphatically supported in the relevant literature.

    2. Chelley Ryan’s letter is both arrogant and self serving because she is losing the argument.

      Like many many members, I have no time for Watson but to attack him over his stance on Brexit, which is exactly the same as the majority of members, is pathetic and for Skwawkbox to follow suit is showing signs of desparation and spite.

      The so called ‘compromise’ on Brexit is just another case of the left giving in to the right to the detriment of the country. It is a plea to only cut one wrist instead of two when to cut either wrist would be madness.

      Others in the Party such as John McDonnell have now reaslised that the best option for the country and our Party is to go back to the people and also campaign for Remain. I doubt if many, including Chelley Ryan whoever she is, would consider John to be one of the wreckers in the same camp as Watson.

      If we support any form of Brexit we will lose Scotland and without Scotland we cannot and would not deserve to win the next GE.

      1. Jack T,

        It may have passed you by, but the Labour Party believes in an egalitarian society, one where each persons has a voice, hence the democratic socialist bit written on the membership card – obviously, in your opinion Ms Ryan should keep her gob shut as a full Party member.

        Here’s a fact Jack T, in today’s Labour Party Ms Ryan’s vote carries as much weight as Mr McDonnell’s vote, as does her opinion.

        I’ll be airing my views on McDonnell shortly when back in the UK, suffice to say, as with all Shadow Chancellor’s and Chancellor’s, his office has been captured.

      2. Christopher Rogers, please do not preach to me about what the Labour Party stands for, I’ve probably been a supporter since before you were born.

        I’ve no objection to anyone having an opinion on anything, my comment was intended to point out the real motive behind the letter. I await a similar letter attacking John McDonnell and another if Jeremy comes out in favour of Remain.

      3. Jack T,

        Funny old bean, but I joined the Party when Michael Foot was its leader, and like me, he too was not too fond of a undemocratic Brussels – so, far from being in kindergarden, as you presume, I’m rather seasoned.

      4. Christopher Rogers – “far from being in kindergarden, as you presume, I’m rather seasoned”

        But with a kindergarden approach to Brexit.

  2. How many members dues the Labour Party have? Half a million! And 1100 sign a letter effectively saying that Labour’s current policy on Brexit is the policy that is popular amongst members. Are you having a laugh!!??

    1. I think the person having a laugh is you Joe, I mean the Remainiacs on these Boards are happy to keep pointing us to Polls of less than 2,000 persons and make very exaggerated claims from them – here, we have a Letter condemning TWatson signed by members of the PLP, not Joe Blogs in the Street, that this sample ain’t good enough for you and your ilk shows how blinkered you really are.

      Alas, its democratic socialists like me who keep being denigrated by the likes of you for not furnishing examples, and when examples are furnished you continue on your merry way.

      Now, if you object to this Letter, do us all a favour and organise your own, in this manner we can then gauge how little support TWatson has within the Party.

      1. That should of course read ‘members of CLPs’, sorry for any confusion one may have caused.

      2. Jack T,

        Now I’m somehow sounding desperate, well, the only thing I’m desperate for is a Labour Government, hence, why its important that the Party does not alienate working class voters in CLPs such as the one I reside in – don’t you think Blair/Brown alienated enough folks, without adding to our woes – the Brexit Party/UKIP did not happen in a vacuum and its high times those being holier-than -thou understood said fact.

    2. You need to abide by conference decisions and stop helping the likes Watson’s treacherous supporters to destroy the socialist Labour party.We are not asking you to be a robot but I believe you are being drawn in by some of the anti corbyn factions ,and the Liberal trolls on here.

    3. Joe I am sure a man of your intelligence does not need to be told that there is such a thing called ADVERTISING .
      Now if said ADVERTISING is constrained to a small limited audience and is reliant on ” chance ” that people see it or hear of it ( the letter ) then the response will be small and limited .
      Now if this letter was plastered across all of the MSM like Twatsons comments , then the response would be somewhat greater , don’t you think?

      It will take time to gather pace by word of mouth and via blogs like this , also one must bear in mind the effect of cynicism that because we ,the membership lack any real clout , that all the letters in the world will not change anything , ( which your comment nicely proves thank you ) , just like votes of no confidence.
      So lets just see how it goes shall we before folks like you shoot it down, have you done anything useful like this to combat Twatson , altho that maybe difficult for a NON member like you as your voice will not be heard at any CLP meetings to protest etc .
      Quite frankly I think Chris Rogers comments very nicely sums up the hypocrisy you display

      Have you signed the letter ? I have !

      1. Rob,

        Not desiring to deceive anyone, I was Ejected from the Party by Iain McNicol and Johanna Baxter in September 2016 during the Great Purge of Corbyn supporters, my crime, bringing the Party into disrepute via RTing a Green Party Tweet I agreed with in 2014.

        I remain, strangely enough, an Affiliate Member via my Unite membership, but can only influence now from the outside – which keeps me busy I assure you.

      2. Rob, please do not be deceived, the main purpose of the letter is not to ‘combat Watson’ it is to pour scorn on Remainers. If it was just a letter to complain about Watson’s lack of support for Jeremy Corbyn I would support it.

      3. Chris you are not the one decrying the action re ” the letter”
        Nor did you voluntarily quit the Labour party
        Your case shockingly illustrates the State of the Party under Blair and his centrist mates rule , and TWtasons recent past actions IMO more than qualifies for a case of ” bringing the party into disrepute” and still goes unpunished or at best a mild ineffective rebuke from our NEC.
        It really is still ” one rule for the PLP ” and quite another for the membership.
        This I hope will change in due course ( trigger ballots ) and that your membership along with many of those innocent and unjustly expelled , is reinstated .

      4. Jack T,

        Sorry to rain on your parade Sir, but most of those adding their signature to Ms Ryan’s Letter actually voted Remain in June 2016 – alas, these believers in democracy and party democracy are all now Brexiteers – when will it stop, when will you accept that a counter-narrative to that being portrayed by Remainiac PLP members and the MSM actually exists. Christ if Lisa Nandy & Stephen Kinnock gets it, why can’t you lot?

      5. Rob,

        Just to say, for many, particularly the middle classes this is all but a game, hence all the moral indignity that we get.

        For me, its not a game, I have real skin in the game to ensure that our next government is a Labour one with Corbyn as PM.

        Regrettably, I and my family are one of the many victims of Ms May’s racist, hostile immigration environment, indeed, I’m one of but 30K plus married couples unable to reside in the UK with their non-EU Passport carrying spouses, so, I’m hardly going to undermine my only hope of finally returning to Wales after a 5 year struggle.

        Alas, EU membership did not do much for me, despite a few rouses one could utilise – on family issues I remain whiter and white, I have no other option.

      6. Christopher Rogers – “Christ if Lisa Nandy & Stephen Kinnock gets it, why can’t you lot?”

        I can’t speak for ‘my lot’ but to cite the two above as having seen the light, when in fact they have never been Corbyn supporters and are just as fickle as you over Brexit, does little to bolster the ever diminishing support for your views but maybe that’s the reason for your rapidly increasing desparation.

    4. … and 6m of the population want Article 50 withdrawn. Mmmm … numbers are indeed tricky.

    5. I voted remain and respect the result of the referendum and have added my name to the excellent letter by Chelley Ryan.

      It’s a little disingenuous to cite a figure of 1100 at this stage Joe, in any case, the figure is now approaching 2000 if you include signatories waiting to be added.

      Delighted and surprised to agree that e.g. Stephen Kinnock does indeed get it and has made that plain for some time.

      1. “I voted remain and respect the result of the referendum”

        Would you ‘respect’ the result of a referendum that concluded that the earth was flat?

        I thin democracy requires a bit more that finger-in-the-wind one-off X-factor votes based on supersttion and hot air.

      2. Didn’t Kinnock look pleased when the GE went well. As did daddy. He’s signed has he. Gimme that letter. Regards

  3. Labour polled 14% in the EU elections. Who’s the ones who are blinkered?

    1. And I’m one of the 14% who voted for them.

      Please remind me how the Brexit & Tory Party performed as you are so apt with figures, which should be alarming.

      As for the LibDem’s, in the Poll of Polls, which covers the EU Parl. Vote they are on 16.1% nationally, which I’d say is about right, despite their showing in the EU Parl .Vote, which lets be honest is meaningless – if we were allowed to Elect the Commission, boy would that be significant.

      1. Danny,

        Its strange how so many have issues with democracy and how they wish to thwart democratic outcomes – I mean, I have had to suffer a Tory government for most of my life time, ones I’ve never voted for, but by the Rules they won and my side lost. Alas, according to our Remain peers, we all made a big mistake, we were all lied too, we are Racists, we are pig ignorant and on it goes – obviously my Leave vote was actually a Remain vote if I listen to the Remainiacs, and they wonder why legions within the working class have contempt for liberals and those espousing this line of thought.

        Still, when Labour is drubbed at the next GE as the Tories present themselves as the defenders of democracy, I trust, unlike the LibDems, our own liberal socialists will take ownership of their error.

      2. ” for many, particularly the middle classes this is all but a game”

        Christopher – for someone of your intelligence, bullshit generalised class prejudice does no dervice. It’s bullshit when it comes from the Bullingdon boys in one direction, and it’s bullshit when it comes in the opposite direction from proly pretension.

        Worth remembering that Labour Party support comes both from large differentiated swathes of the working and middle classes – ans the latter are in the majority. So what? – the simple characteristics of 19th C. class structures are long gone.

        And, Christopher … the other bullshit that needs to be dumped is that concerning the referendum being an one time only expression of ‘democracy’. It wasn’t, and failed dismally to muster majority consent for a constitutional reversal of the previous exercise – a fact that the last three years have graphically underlined.

      3. Christopher Rogers – “Alas, according to our Remain peers, we all made a big mistake, we were all lied too, we are Racists, we are pig ignorant and on it goes”

        No, that’s what you and Farage, in a disgusting ploy to play the class card, said that Remainers said. It is yet another attempt to turn the working class, who were split between Leave and Remain, against each other to further your fanatical obsession with Leave.

      4. No, Danny – it’s Leave that’s the scam from the ERG and sundry Farrago/Bannon scammers – including their friends, pretend ‘left’ Lexiteers. (‘Left’ = ‘In favour of extreme right policies’).

    2. I am a long time Labour voter and vote leave in the referendum. I didn’t vote in the EU elections as I could see no point. I know many others that felt the same. I think to take too much credence from the results is a big mistake and is unrepresentative of the true position in the country. Labours’ policy was set at the last years party conference and would be a betrayal of members and voters to change it.

    3. Joe K

      It’s not really a relevant statistic.

      Maybe not you, but most people don’t apply the same criteria when voting in a EU Election as they do in a General Election, where (theoretically) domestic policies are voted on.

    4. Joe I don’t get it as you don’t get it.Joe I do not get why you cannot understand your never-ending obsession with trashing a democratic vote to leave the EU.You are clearly not a stupid person so why do you insist on the tail wagging the dog and ignore the vote and ignore the conference decisions regarding brexit..I do not think you like to line up with Watson’s treacherous supporters, but you must try to abide by democracy whether you like it or not.I am an international member of the Labour party,and brexit will be extremely difficult for me personally.But joining the Labour party means abiding by the decisions of our party and not running with Watson’s destructive plans to destroy the Labour party in the heartlands.Think again Joe?

    1. I think Irlands forced to vote 3 times to get it right w,would be more of a political scandal?To think they struggled to rid the country of colonial oppression and gerry mandering the vote in Ulster and then bow to a similar situation in Europe(for the few not the many)is an offence against the democratic will of the people.We now have a repeat performed in Britain.

  4. Just like to say I think Christopher Rogers message sums up my feelings better than I could. Thank you.

  5. Why call Tom Watson TWatson? How pathetic, grow up. Have your arguments but treat others with respect. Does that make me a troll, a Blairite? If it does so be it, but I believe in showing respect to those you have a different opinion then they may respect you. Till then you don’t have my respect.

    1. Ed , Twatson is a mild term I’d use to describe the behaviour of a liar whom attained the position of Deputy Leader with a solemn commitment to support the Party Leadership and all he has done since is undermine Corbyn and our Policy agreed by us the membership via our Reps at Conference.
      The anger at being “duped ” by this liar is exemplified by the label he now has associated with him .
      As regards respect , then maybe you’d like to ref back to TWatsons comments re those in Momentum ( I was one of em) who had a different view to how the party should go , and what did he call us , ” a bunch of Trots , and insurgents or entrists etc .
      If anyone needs to grow up and show some respect and honesty it’s Watson , who is a twat .

    2. Edward hasman! I never swear,but the politics of watson and the evil behind is actions would encourage anyone with blood in their veins to swear.If you consider the destruction that man as unleashed against individuals and the Labour party,then Twatson must be an acurate description.Some people deserve no respect and the immoral lowlife that is Watson deserves none.And I couldn’t give a Flying fcuk whether you a blairite respected me or not sunshine 🌞

      1. … but outshone in villainy by those who advocate a Tory-conceived Brexit policy as atemplate for Labour to follow.

  6. As a remainer I can not disagree with anything in that letter. Remain lost, the unfairness of that is irrelevant now and I haven’t seen anything since the referendum that indicates Labour leavers in the north of the country have changed their mind. As much as I like them to and get behind remain I can’t. Not only is that against our principles it would be political suicide. Our main objectives are avoiding hard Brexit and winning a GE when ever that comes along. Let get behind the party eh?

  7. You’ve godda laugh.

    Yesterday, S.Box is slavvering over a couple of de-contextualised poll results; today it’s desperation to claim massive significance for the views of a handful of self-selecting members.

    Sorry – the properly sampled views of Party members and supporters is already known (thus the desperate opposition to fresh *real* polling) – as is the frightening degree of flakiness in the shrunken Labour vote.

    I’m sure that the self-regarding Watson will be flattered by the attribution of the cliff-like decline of support to his actions. I’m afraid I’m not impressed by fiction.

    1. “the properly sampled views of Party members and supporters is already known”
      Actually, it isn’t.
      Only elections count, and as no-one has challenged Watson, we do not know what the members think.
      No amount of cherry picking statistics changes that. But I know you’ll keep doing it, because without that you have nothing.

      1. Cherry-picking and denial is the guilty pursuit of Leavers, not we Remainers – as I’ve already pointed out : poll results, the definition of ‘democracy’ (the most ridiculous claim of all), statements about class attitudes; facts about Party composition and views …. all made up on the hoof. When evidence gets in the way, it’s ignored or declaed fake (note the similarity to Trump’s methodology).

    2. How nice it would be if delegates to Conference actually represented the views of the Constituency Party rather than promote their own personal beliefs. Time for delegates to be made accountable.

      1. That’d certainly screw the Leavers!

        A more considered aproach would be a OMOV to poll members by constituency and affiliates and mandate delegates by its outcome.

  8. So 0.01%(Roughly) of the membership signing a letter is hardly news worthy, when what we need is for just 1 MP on the left to actually stand against him.

    1. I agree it’s hardly news but better than meekly by-standing and doing nothing , good for Chelley Ryan efforts . If Chris Williamson had not been suspended on a trumped up lie of a false bullshit AS charge cheer-leaded by Watson he might well have challenged him by now.
      IMO I suspect nobody has yet done so as JC probably would have to give some indication that they would be welcome to do so.

      1. Exactly. I didn’t take it as a news item. Instead, I welcomed it as something I would want to add my name to. I have been taken aback by some rather negative responses, even from people who presumably disapprove of Watson’s terrible behaviour. Sure, It’s only one angle of attack, but if Skwawkers agree with it they should sign it!

  9. What’s the point of this? There is a perfectly deviation process for challenging Watson, but no-one has shown any interest in that.
    I suspect this personal anti Watson campaign is designed to make us hate Watson so much that when someone is finally put up by Momentum, we’ll all think “can’t be worse than Watson”, and vote for it without realising that it’s much worse than Watson.
    From a left wing that constantly whines about democracy, the irony is painful.

  10. life long socialist first time poster –

    If you cant support the labour party with the primary aim of winning a general election as priority and then with the power of being in government making the country a better place …..notice i said PRIORITY OF WINNING THE GENERAL ELECTION….then you are not a true supporter of the labour party and the millions of people desperate for change. The tory party as proven that all that matters is the power of government no matter how slim your control is …which means all the people pushing any other agenda are beyond selfish.

    so many clever people with so many polls and statistics to prove their agenda is correct …so many lies and distortions from the media attacking the party and anyone that assists in this is again true supporter of the labour party or the people that are suffering.

    we have the chance to win a general election that can turn around 40 years of right wing policies and oppression and all i can see is the arrogant self righteous smug and selfish posturings of people that are ignoring the suffering and pain.

    brexit is just one part of the shit show that needs to be fixed but its going to have to be a compromise ….get used to that idea its what needs to happen and it is what the labour party are proposing.

    the agenda driven posts that have nothing to do with winning an election are weights tied to the feet dragging the body under water.

    The careerist right of the party politicians that have an anti-corbyn and anti-labour party agenda need to be replaced as they are no longer representing the party or the members or the people in pain and suffering ….they only represent themselves for their own personal gain.

    socialist policies and a united party standing against the smears, lies and distortions of our enemies is what will win us the next election.

    so i make the point here with clarity.


  11. Christopher Rogers. l agree about McDonnell. Seems he’s been nobbled. Talking of a 2nd referendum, balancing budgets, money trees, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear him say that some form of austerity should be continued under a Labour government.
    God help Socialism if a right wing demagogue sees the value
    of Modern Monetary Theory.
    By the way, I too, have signed Chelley’s letter.

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