Analysis comment

Watson attempts to bully Shadow Cabinet colleagues over Reeves case

Party deputy leader’s naked attempt to manipulate colleagues via social media constitutes attempted bullying

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson has been condemned for an attempt to bully colleagues in the Shadow Cabinet over a motion of no confidence suggested by a Lewisham West and Penge Labour member in the constituency’s MP, Ellie Reeves.

Watson tweeted about supposed ‘bullying’ of a Labour MP in terms clearly designed to pressure colleagues:

The motion has already been withdrawn after a request from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Watson’s blatant manoeuvring was condemned by Labour activists, who pointed out that his behaviour is likely to foster division between MPs and local members and actually increases the likelihood of deselection attempts:

Under Labour rules, every constituency party has the right to require a full selection process if one in three of the CLP’s branches votes for one. The party initiated the so-called ‘trigger’ process at the end of June, asking Labour MPs to indicate whether they wish to stand again at the next general election. MPs who return a positive response will automatically be shortlisted in any ‘triggered’ selection.

Watson’s treatment of his Shadow Cabinet colleagues is far from the first time that he has been accused of or associated with bullying.

His chief of staff has been accused of racially-motivated bullying of another staff member – with Watson failing to take action. He threw a huge ‘bully’ tantrum during a meeting of Labour’s National Executive Committee – and was accused by Sandwell councillor Yvonne Davies of ‘making [her] life a misery’.

Tom Watson was contacted for comment.


As usual, Tom Watson is at the core of trouble far more than any members attempting to exercise their democratic right under Labour rules.

As Watson’s history shows, he is in no position to accuse anyone else in the Labour party of bullying.

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  1. It used to be trouble evey couple of weeks,now its daily and it’s just gone hourly!What’s happened to the :ignore them and they will go away idea: Well we fight back or Surrender?.Watson’s looking for a fight ,maybe its time we gave him one…..Any suggestions?

    1. We could always try using the democratic processes laid out in our Rule Book?

      2019 labour Party Rule Book
      Chapter 4, Clause II
      2. Election of leader and deputy leader
      A. The leader and deputy leader shall be elected separately in accordance with rule C below, unless rule E below applies.
      B. Nomination
      i. In the case of a vacancy for leader or deputy leader, each nomination must be supported by 10 per cent of the combined Commons members of the PLP and members of the EPLP and either:
      a) 5 per cent of CLPs; or
      b) At least 3 affiliates (at least 2 of which shall be trade union affiliates) compromising 5 per cent of affiliated membership. Nominations not attaining the thresholds under either a or b above shall be null and void.
      ii. Where there is no vacancy, nominations may be sought by potential challengers each year prior to the annual session of Party conference. In this case any nomination must be supported by 20 per cent of the combined Commons members of the PLP and members of the EPLP. Nominations not attaining this threshold shall be null and void. The sitting Leader or Deputy Leader shall not be required to seek nominations in the event of a challenge under this rule.

      1. Qhat kind of a timescale is implied by “prior to conference”? Presumably re selection is simply not a runner In Watson’s fiefdom as it stands? (excuse naivety/ ignorance re these matters)

      2. paulo 03/07/2019 at 8:08 pm

        Your guess/interpretation is as good as mine. The Labour Party is famed for its use of imprecise language

      3. re “imprecise language” Mine wasn’t a rhetorical question, Steve, but it’s heading in that direction. Here’s a properly rhetorical one: How much damage can Watson do between now and Conference?

    2. Fight back. Stop being nice.

      LFI supports a regime that is currently locking up children, interrogating them alone, shooting people in the street and murdering unarmed press and medics.

      He should be associated with that. Publicly. Because what watson et al support is kept out of sight, he can pretend to have morals.

      Anyone supporting apartheid has none. People used to be ashamed of association with apartheid South Africa, Not proud of it.

      1. The fact is MAByou have already begun the fightback by putting it on here! Good work!Maybe you should try to move your knowledge of Watson’s idea of morality and his support of apartheid on to other media outlets as well as Squawky.

      2. The “fightback” has to be at the level of the Party and the PLP.

        Despite the clear will of members at conference last year to support the Palestinian cause, the response of the Party hierarchy has been to grovel at every bark of the Israel lobby. Count how many times, in comparison, that there has been a strong statement of the Palestinian case, as opposed to fictional stories of ‘antisemitism,

        An alternative narrative cannot be framed by constant and unrelelenting apologies concessions to the myth-makers.

      3. MAB correct, we harbour these people because they gained their ascendency in the days of Blair and buried themselves within the machinery of the Party. Their roots go deep and will take some shifting. At the moment they are deliberately trying to destroy Corbyn’s (our) Labour Party so that they can rebuild it in their (Zionist) image.

  2. Goes to show the depth to which British politics has fallen. Unfortunately, bullying and intimidation are rife throughout the government especially the Civil Service. Sadly, subordinate civil servants don’t attract as much attention when they’re abused.

  3. Why does her pregnancy need to be mentioned? Does it affect her ability to do her job? It is blatant sexism to use the fact of her pregnancy to portray her as someone who is more politically vulnerable.

    If the democratically agreed processes of the party amount to bullying, we should be tackling those processes, not attacking the members using them.

    Of course, the processes are fine. I didn’t notice Watson calling the vote of no confidence in May bullying. Or is it only when votes are called against r-w Labour MPs that it counts?

  4. Surely Sqwarkbox you have accumulated enough evidence now against Tom Watson to put in a detailed complaint re his divisiveness and bullying.

  5. The first sentence in Watson’s statement is a lie. Expulsion has never been mentioned.

    However, again, the possibility of the motion against Ellie Reeves being a ‘false flag’ operation cannot be discounted.

  6. I have just noticed how the Guardian headline totally misrepresents the situation ‘MP who criticised Chris Williamson…’

  7. She was happy to throw Chris Williamson under a bus, without any evidence whatsoever.

    One disgruntled member does not an angry mob make. Tom Watson is on a very sticky wicket, he knows his time is up, and he’s doing all he can to destroy the party

  8. Here it was the front page item in tonight’s London Evening Standard (editor: George Osborne). I too thought it was outrageously sexist; why should a pregnant woman be cocooned from legitimate deselection? Why should the normal operation of Labour Party democracy be deemed “bullying”? Highly unconvincing, and another good argument for mandatory reselection (open selections).

    1. Why should the normal operation of Labour Party democracy be deemed “bullying”?

      Given that it’s NOT, he should be suspended immediately for making false claims AND bringing the LP into disrepute.

      Oh, right, but that would be bullying, wouldn’t it!

  9. These comments from Tom Watson are an absolute disgrace. How dare he malign an individual for exercising their democratic right under our constitution to have a say in who is his/her next PPC/MP.
    It is very likely that in the coming weeks and months a number of sitting MPs will be deselected. We should make it clear that we are not going to put up with a song and dance from Tom or anybody else every time a CLP decides it is fed up with its unsatisfactory MP and wants to select someone who will better represent them and their views.
    I believe Tom or anybody else who publicly makes false allegations of bullying against any member, thereby destroying the character of the individual concerned and/or bringing the party into disrepute should be subject to disciplinary action.I also think that in Tom’s case such action is long overdue.

    1. We must have been typing out our posts at the same time! The thing is, WHO is going to do it – ie make a formal complaint about him to the NEC? Perhaps we ALL should, en masse! Who’s in?

      1. Afterthought: And smearing people for exercising their democratic rights is, in effect, tantamount to bullying, in the sense that it (potentially) deters OTHER people from doing the same and ESPECIALLY when they know that it will be repeated and disseminated all over the MSM.

      2. Everyone is ,and most certainty me.I tend to follow up anyone I contact with a confirmatory phone call……..try it Sometimes I get amazing responses from the poor sods I phone

      3. Yes a lot of people think like we do on this one
        I don’t know who should make a formal complaint about Tom to the NEC . After all the NEC members are fully aware of his antics and the damage he is causing to.
        I think it would be better if somebody like the party chair sent out a circular to all members, which would include MPs and Lords, reminding them of the provisions of the constitution. He should also inform them that while the party has zero tolerance of bullying and other disreputable behaviour and while no action will be taken against anyone who makes an allegation in good faith (even if, after investigation, it is clearly unfounded) anyone who is deemed to have made malicious or vexatious complaints will be subject to disciplinary action.
        This provision exists in most workplace dignity at work and equality procedures and ensures that spurious complaints are kept to a minimum and complainants know that their part in any proceedings will be scrutinised too.

      4. I’m not sure where this post will end up (hopefully just underneath smartboy’s 8.39pm post), but what we are dealing with in actual fact is ONE falsehood on top of another, or to put it the other way round, one falsehood predicated on the initial falsehood.

        WE all know of course that Chris said nothing remotely anti-semitic (and that he was making a valid point), but a lot of people out THERE *don’t*. And Tom Watson and his fellow plotters and schemers KNOW this. In other words, if Jo Bloggs thinks and believes that CW WAS saying something anti-semitic (because THAT’S what they’ve read in the newspapers along with quotes from Hodge et al telling them so), AND that the signatories to the letter had every right to call for CW to be re-suspended, then SHE – Jo Bloggs – will be prone to agree with Tom Watson that submitting a motion to deselect someone because they signed the letter is unjustified and, as such, is tantamount to bullying (and the fact that the MP in question is pregnant will just add to their ill feeling towards whoever is trying to deselect her, and the plotters and their MSM enablers will of course make sure that it reflects badly on Jeremy AND the left in general).

        Bit of a mouthful, I know, but I hope you follow.

      5. “…. make a formal complaint about him to the NEC?”

        The NEC is more part of the problem rather than the solution.

      6. I should add that I “like” Allan’s mouthful because it’s lucid to me and tentatively, I think it may be asking interesting questions about priorities.

      7. Smartboy at 8:39pm, my (admittedly shallow) understanding of the NEC is that they’re functionaries and ought therefore to be constituted to require instructions from above or requests from below to operate outside closely defined boundaries.
        Avoiding multiple competing power structures makes a party stronger but, without the right leadership, less inclusive.
        I accept that checks and balances are there to avoid tyranny but people pulling in different directions get nowhere – they make unity of direction impossible.
        Greater concentration of power gets things done fast (look at WWII) and today’s challenges require us to act fast, globally, in unison and most importantly, not for profit.

      8. Reply to David Mc Niven
        I’m not an expert on the NEC either but as I understand it while the NEC as a body may be constrained by various procedures under the rules, individual members of the NEC have the same rights and obligations as any other member and are therefore free to lodge complaints about unacceptable behaviour. As we know individual NEC members can also be the subject of complaints ( e.g.Peter Wilsman) Members of the NEC cannot be unaware of the damage Tom Watson is doing to the party and in response to Allan Howard’s question about who should raise a complaint about Tom I think that elected representatives on our most senior committee should do so rather then leave it to ordinary members to formally complain about unacceptable behaviour the NEC are turning a blind eye to.

      1. Oh shit! I mean the comment re TW “an absolute disgrace” I better stop now

      2. Paulo, it’s this format that’s the nightmare.
        Never knowing where your comment will end up and having to trawl through a whole thread to get the sense back when new ones have been added randomly somewhere in the middle.
        Chronological order while still directing comments to individuals by name and time would save us all having to scroll through threads a dozen times.
        I contribute to some technical fora and all threads are ordered chronologically.
        Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are the only other sites I know which allow insertions into the middle of threads like this.
        I think it’s ridiculous.

      3. I want to write thanks for your sympathetic comment David but who knows where it might end up and what it will imply!

  10. So all a female MP has to do to avoid being deselected is get pregnant regularly? Would a male MP whose wife was pregnant get the same immunity from deselection? Why does an MP being pregnant mean that it’s wrong to seek to deselect them?

    1. Dave G seems like the response to traitors by HQ is to make up policy on the hoof and tweek it a bit.So it looking like its not only Watson who likes to ignore party rules,just look at Chris Williamson and Ken Livingstone Galloway and many others!.Who have fallen to the party ignoring rules when it’s convenient.More democratic accountability and participation of the membership would help I am sure.

  11. Again we are missing the point, as with Luciana Berfer JC intervened and asked member to withdraw as a courtesy, this is the same man who said I’m sorry you feel that way to Pantomime Dame
    He will make a great PM,
    But on a practical level by not putting TWatson firmly back in his box he only makes it worse for members and supporters,
    At very least TWatson should have been forced to apologise to member who was only exercising their democratic rights or face bringing party into disrepute charges going back donkeys years
    I was reminded this week by another poster that we completely failed to defend ourselves against ‘Labour financial crash’ in 2008 and we know how that turned out,
    Every great team has an enforcer, wheres ours

    1. ‘I was reminded this week by another poster that we completely failed to defend ourselves against ‘Labour financial crash’ in 2008…’

      Yes, the Tories pinning it all on the Labour Party. But it’s the same old, and ongoing problem – and in fact even worse now since the BBC and Channel 4 News and the Guardian and the Indy, and the Daily Mirror to some degree, became enablers for the Establishment’s black propaganda – in that THAT particular falsehood got repeated and disseminated ad infinitum, and well and truely drummed into the collective consciousness of the ‘masses’ (just as with ‘anti-semitism/Labour Party NOW). And it still gets reiterated after all these years, having been ‘transformed’ into an historical fact.

      1. Odd that you don’t also mention the core Tory propaganda enablers. The Sun and Mail have much greater reach and influence than those you mention.

        The other issue about the parallel with the spreading of economic manure is that the Party itself did untold damage by actually conceding the enemy narrative. Sounds familiar?

      2. Richard: If you read my post again you will see that what I was in effect saying is that BBC news (and Newsnight etc) and Channel 4 News et al have now become as BAD as the Sun and the Mail and the Express, not to mention the Times and the Telegraph.

      3. Afterthought: Perhaps it would have been clearer if I’d said
        ‘….. have ALSO now become enablers…..’

      4. My understanding is you have a rebuttal unit that flashes out responses in a nano second,
        This is backed up by policy and reinforcement of key messages, pretty basic stuff for any organisation.
        Consistency builds up trust and avoids the abuse we see daily from enemy within, as anyone going rogue would face immediate action
        JC is good cop, where is our bad cop

      5. Tom Watson sneers when we mention rules and regulations,he knows that only applied to us the little helpers,the membership.The worst mistake Corbyn made was when he ran away from reporters who chased him around parliament square just after being elected shouting no comment!.We have carried on in that amateur way ever since.And it hurts to say these things.about our leadership.He is a brilliant campaigner and will make a brilliant P M,but he needs a media person desperately,to organize and set up a rebuttal system and understanding that we HAVE GOT TO DEAL with the media and combat hostile and positive propoganda from outside and inside the party.I have been saying that for a long time now and when you think about it ,well its obvious!and I will not mention this again as I have no wish to be boring.

  12. All CLPs, trade unions & affiliates should get resolutions in to the NEC calling for the 118 to be disciplined because as members these MPs & Peers have defied Labour rules by openly discussing an individual case and publicly vilifying this human being too.
    They perhaps know they are in the wrong and hence this false flag distraction.
    Discipline them and could I suggest 3 strikes and you are out?

    1. ‘They perhaps know they are in the wrong….’

      Oh they know they are in the wrong alright, because they ALL signed up to a statement/letter that is an outright falsehood, concocted and designed to reinforce in Jo/Joe Public’s mind that what Chris said WAS anti-semitic, when they know perfectly well that it WASN’T.

      Perhaps one of US should report Chris to the police and, in effect expose them all for the charlatans and plotters and deceivers that they ARE when the police investigation – as it would of course – finds that Chris has no case to answer.

      1. Sorry Allan,but please don’t report chris Williamson to the police because they Will obviously find him not guilty? Tell that to the Birmingham 6 ,the Guilford 4 and many others.I wish it was so regarding the police but unfortunately you are wrong.I would usually agree with you on many topics,but on this I can’t.

      2. Or Julian Assange for that matter, and in THREE jurisdictions in effect. I was of course making a rhetorical point (and obviously had no intention of actually reporting Chris to the police), but then again, as I’ve said on a number of occasions, why is it that Hodge and Co (or the CAA or LFI) have never reported any of the people they deem to be Jew-hating anti-semites to the police, given that anti-semitism is a form of racism, and racism is a criminal offence. Because, of course, they know that their claims are fraudulent (as is their anger and outrage and chastisement) – ie totally hyped-up distortions in the vast majority of cases, if not complete invention, as with Ken Livingstone.

    1. Correct me if I’m wrong but I’m sure Asa winstanley has been suspended from the party as well
      Which is a very clear sign of bitterites still far to influential in the party,
      We have a long way to go with cleaning out the stables

  13. Thanks Allan……thought you were maybe,…..past my bedtime really for me and I panicked thinking we would have to set up a get Chris out of jail campaign.any way have a good day and look forward to more knowledgeable comments on here from you

  14. This is why we needed Open Selection. And with a General Election looming, we are stuck with what Tony Benn called a Conservative Party inside the Labour Party. I despair and I blame the Unions at the Conference last year entirely. It was made plain by many people there that trigger ballots were negative campaigning and most people would be bullied out of doing it. This is proof.

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