Breaking comment

Labour councillors in Watson’s home borough stand in solidarity with Formby – except two who work for him

Sandwell Labour group stands for photo to send to Formby as council leader ‘heaps praise’ on Labour general secretary – apart from two employed by ‘bullying’ deputy leader

The behaviour of Labour’s notional deputy leader Tom Watson toward the party’s general secretary Jennie Formby has been widely condemned – but Watson has also received a stinging response on his ‘home patch’.

Watson and his local parliamentary colleague John Spellar were long considered to have an iron grip on selections and decisions in the West Midlands borough of Sandwell borough – but the extent of recent changes can be seen in a photograph taken yesterday after a meeting of Sandwell council’s Labour group.

After ‘heaping praise’ on Jennie Formby, Sandwell council leader Yvonne Davies told the gathered Labour group:

We are going to do a card for Jennie Formby. It is going to be a photograph, and we are going to send our best wishes.

We just want to say all the very best for what she is going through.

The resulting picture shows the massed councillors standing in solidarity with the unfairly-targeted general secretary:

Sandwell’s Labour councillors stand in solidarity with Jennie Formby

All Sandwell’s councillors represent the Labour Party, except a couple now sitting as independents after expulsion for support for rival candidates in the recent local elections.

Only two Labour councillors present declined to participate in the group shot. Both work for Watson.

A tweet of the image by local councillor Wasim Ali

Watson’s cronies in the area tried – of course – to paint this show of solidarity as a sign that Labour’s interventions in the area were factional. However, Formby’s involvement referred to by Davies was in suspending local councillors against whom serious complaints had been made, primarily by women councillors, to safeguard the women while the complaints were investigated. Formby also suspended the ‘Local Campaign Forum’, the body that controls candidate selections, after complaints of rigging and improper behaviour.

The adjudication of the cases has been by the National Executive Committee NEC) in accordance with Labour’s rules. A number of the complaints have been referred by the NEC to the National Constitutional Committee, Labour’s ultimate disciplinary body.

Some of the people who know Tom Watson best, from long experience of him on his home turf, are unequivocally supporting Jennie Formby. Council leader Davies has also accused Watson and his allies of attempting to bully her, saying that they “made my life a misery”.

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. What kind of miserable arseholes would refuse to support someone in her fight against cancer , preferring to support a malicious bully who deals only in false accusations .

  2. The question is,can they remove Watson as Labour candidate for the next GE.I realise that will not solve the problem entirely,since his is a marriage of convenience with the Blairites,and a financial one with the Zionist lobby.He is part of the old, sometimes racist,often misogynistic Labour right,those of you who are old enough will be familiar with the type,now thankfully much reduced in number,if not yet in influence.

    1. John Thatcher… You have hit the nail on the head .. Can his constituency party get rid of him.. Big if and I do not know,but I am sure key people will be in positions to stop any move against him.I would say though if that was my mp I would be deeply ashamed and angry for nominating him.I was one of the clowns that voted for him in the deputy election. I am deeply ashamed and all I can do is claim mitigating circumstances and say that I was self medicating and believed that the pathological misfit was a socialist….most everybody but me had him sussed out!

      1. Don’t beart yourself up Joseph O’Keefe, like hundreds of thousands of us at that time you went for Hope in a Kinder, more equitable and Peaceful society a time when TW was Himself swearing allegiance to Corbyn! You, me and the rest of us are not the villans here!

  3. The only thing to add is that this situation is not unusual. MPs don’t control the individuals who comprise a council. Political partisanship can dominate in some cases – but my memory is of varying degrees of tolerance and agreement with the MPs representing the constituencies within my local authority. They weren’t seen as superior political beings – and were rapidly disabused if they saw themselves as other than simply representatives of the same area – but in Westminster.

  4. Love the SB phrase labour “Notional Deputy Leader” ,
    TWatson just a notional Deputy , kinda has a ring to it
    perfect , must from now on refer to him as just that a notional blip or ex blimp perhaps

  5. Making cards is all well & good. Will everyone on that photo be pushing for a trigger ballot?

    Being rid of fatboy slime’d be a far better sentiment.

  6. Delighted Sandwell has decided to take this stand in support of our General Secretary Jennie Formby. Solidarity.
    Tom Watson’s attack on Jennie Formby was despicable and in my opinion could well finished him politically.
    It is very interesting to note how all those lining up behind Tom to attack Jennie have now crawled back under their stones leaving him isolated. They saw the disgust and revulsion Tom’s behaviour has caused in ordinary decent people and they don’t want the same reaction themselves.
    It is important to say that we can all have our differences and engage in robust discussions with those with whom the disagree. However most people draw the line at a full frontal assault on a woman suffering from breast cancer and receiving chemo. Tom Watson crossed that line. He is a disgrace.
    He is now apparently in cahoots with Peter Mandleson – they really do deserve each other.

  7. When Labour don’t win the next General Election, Toff and co will blame Watson and his entourage entirely. Whilst he will have played his part, concentrating on this battle, and not the issues that effect voters on a daily basis will also be a large factor. Maybe you’ll soon realise you’re contributing to a likely Labour defeat hopefully, though, not too late.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: