Analysis comment Exclusive

Excl: Watson’s ‘panicked reaction’ to Corbyn speech – his own speech tomorrow that would delay GE SEVEN MONTHS

Corbyn’s hugely popular speech to TUC today flagged Labour’s dramatic plans for government. Watson breaks Shadow Cabinet collective responsibility to issue ‘panic’ speech that would delay general election until mid-2020
Tom Watson

Labour’s deputy leader has come out of hiding in what Labour sources have described as a ‘panic-reaction’ to Jeremy Corbyn’s powerful and hugely popular speech today to the TUC.

Where Corbyn laid out his and Labour’s radical plans to transform the UK for the many, Watson has rushed out a speech trying to dredge up the tired idea of a referendum before a general election – again making the nonsensical claim that it is the ‘only thing that can certainly‘ ‘break the Brexit deadlock‘.

Watson did not send the press release to the SKWAWKBOX, which obtained a leaked copy.

In the note circulated it to friendly media, the details of the speech were not to be published until after 10.30pm tonight meaning it would have appeared only after the ‘trigger’ meeting Watson faces tonight had closed, giving members no opportunity to vote based on his action.

In this desperate-looking move, Watson has isolated himself even further – MPs told Boris Johnson that they will back a general election when their Act to prevent no-deal is fully in force, not when there has been another referendum about it.

And the statutory requirements for preparing, tabling and passing legislation for a new referendum – and then a general election after it – would mean that a general election could not take place until mid-2020, late April at the absolute earliest even in the unthinkable scenario of no delays in Parliament.

Getting a referendum bill through Parliament would require MPs taking over the House of Commons for three to four weeks – a process that cannot even begin until the proroguing of Parliament is over.

If it passes, then the referendum campaign would be a minimum of 147 days – but that countdown can’t even start until the Electoral Commission decides on the wording of the referendum question and Parliament debates it and potentially tries to amend it before its final approval.

Add to all that the minimum period of 42 days for a general election campaign and all the arguments and manoeuvres that would go on around both votes and the earliest that a general election could realistically take place is summer next year.

A senior Labour source told the SKWAWKBOX:

This is a panicked reaction by Tom to the popularity of Jeremy’s speech today. MPs have voted multiple times on a second referendum and it’s been defeated each time – there’s no majority for it in Parliament, but somehow Tom thinks one can be achieved without an election to change its make-up.

But for Tom to say a referendum would break the deadlock? He’s in cloud cuckoo land if he thinks that would resolve the issue and bring any unity – even if remain won, it would be tight and there would be millions of leavers who won in 2016 and haven’t seen it enacted.

Why would they just accept that a remain result counted when a leave vote didn’t? And if remain did win and Labour had facilitated it, it would destroy the party for a generation, maybe longer.

For him to break collective responsibility to come out with this nonsense is unforgivable.

Another source pointed out that Watson’s speech directly contradicts Corbyn’s speech today:

Jeremy said we’ll present a ‘credible leave option’ in any referendum. Suddenly here’s Tom saying there can’t be any credible leave option to present. He clearly wants to just ignore everyone who voted leave – and then deny the public a meaningful choice in a second vote. He’d turn it into a sham.

Typical of Tom to pop up with a wedge issue to create division when the grassroots are getting excited about what Labour will offer in a general election.

He says a single-issue Brexit election is a bad thing, but this is about as sure a way as you could think of to guarantee that it’ll be exactly that when it’s called.

The full, leaked briefing outlining Watson’s speech can be downloaded here, but the key passage is reproduced below:

On Wednesday 11th September 2019 Tom Watson will make a major speech arguing that when Parliament resumes in October it must focus on securing a public vote on Brexit before a general election. He will decry the idea of a single-issue election and say it may not break the Brexit deadlock – the only thing that can certainly do that is a referendum…

But he will say that if a general election comes before a referendum, then “Labour will decide it’s position at the Clause V manifesto meeting, but I will be arguing that our position going into that election should be totally clear – we must unambiguously and unequivocally back remain”.

He will say we should do this “not for electoral or tactical reasons, but because it is the right thing to do for the country at this time of greatest crisis since the second world war.”

He will say that “There is no such thing as a good Brexit deal, which is why I believe we should advocate for remain. That is what the overwhelming majority of Labour party members, MPs and trade unions believe.

He will say that “we only create the space for our important domestic agenda on the NHS, on crime, on environment, by being crystal clear on Brexit. Labour is remain.”

Tom Watson has been contacted for comment.


Watson’s speech will not only be nonsense – Labour is not ‘remain’ and his shtick about a referendum solving anything is delusional – it will be a breach of collective responsibility and clearly a disciplinary matter. Jeremy Corbyn can and should sack him from the Shadow Cabinet for it.

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  1. What time can we expect to hear whether the shitbag has been deselected or not?

    1. Skwawkbox was first to report the deselection meeting. It started at 7,00 pm today, so should rech its decision fairly soon. Chances are Skwawkie will be first again.

      LabourHeartlands ( W ) reported these points as evidence against him:

      * Frequently abstains on funding & support for public services and social care
      • Frequently abstains on proposals to combat violence against women
      • Appears not to support Women’s equality issues
      • Abstained on proposals to write off child support arrears
      • Abstained from supporting measures to address the concerns of WASPI women
      • Repeatedly demonstrates a lack of support for Trade Unions
      • Supports foreign wars
      • Does not supporting investigations into illegal wars
      • Does not support favouring jobs for public sector operators
      • Does not support refugee family reunion and abstained to support refugee children being brought over on the Dubs scheme
      • Abstained on most matters concerning Tax Avoidance & proposals to investigate banking industries
      • Generally abstains on proposals to increase taxes on banks
      • Abstained from supporting an increase in central government finance for councils.
      • Abstained on a proposal to increase taxation of Private Finance Initiative Companies deemed to be making Excess Profits
      • Tends to abstain on most measures to address inequalities experience by people with different levels of income or who belong to a minority grouping.
      • Abstains on proposals to investigate Real Estate Investment Trusts
      • Frequently abstains on any proposals to increase tax on high income earners.
      • Abstains on bills that’s aim to address serious issues concerning mental health patients
      • Abstained on a vote to reverse reductions to the work allowance element of universal credit and employment & support allowance
      • Abstained on a motion calling on the Government to reverse its decision to cut tax credits
      • Abstained on a proposal to increase certain benefits, payments and tax credits so that they would be in line with inflation.
      • Demonstrates a lack of interest in attempts to reform the Health and Social Care act or in attempts to reveal the effect of outsourcing and privatisation in the NHS.
      • Abstains on proposals to produce reports on the sufficiency of social care funding or even to call on MPs to reflect official treasury spending statistics when making public statements on health spending.
      • Didn’t support allowing Clinical Commissioning Groups having an input in arrangements offered by health service providers.
      • Abstained on a vote to drop the 2012 Health and Social Care Bill
      • Abstains on a significant number of Brexit motions including a number that outline post Brexit arrangements with (and regulation of) financial services organisations, employment rights, investment fund regulation and UK Immigration Controls for EU Citizens for example.
      • Watson did not vote to remain in the EU during the parliamentary vote in June 2016
      • Watson abstained from supporting restrictions on the Ivory trade.
      • He consistently avoids voting on any proposal to bring in taxation and other remedial measures that would benefit British businesses
      • He consistently avoids voting on any proposals to tackle dodgy Landlords and abstains from voting on any measures that could address homelessness and rough sleeping.
      • He recently abstained from supporting a bill that required UK secondary legislation to extend same-sex marriage to Northern Ireland.
      • Watson also abstained on a vote to ban MPs Holding Paid Directorships and Consultancies.

      1. Qwertboy, tell us more about this one please:

        “Watson did not vote to remain in the EU during the parliamentary vote in June 2016”

        Can we have a link to the result of this vote. Seems interesting on many different levels (I’m curious to know how current party leaders voted)

      2. Links awaiting approval, so copy of relevant data is
        “15th June 2016 European Union Membership – Should the UK stay in the EU? A vote to say the UK needs to stay in t Jeremy Corbyn (Labour For
        Theresa May (Tory) Didn’t vote
        Owen Smith (Labour) For
        Tom Watson (Labour) Didn’t vote

        I.E. He didn’t vote.. Corbyn and Smith bth voted “For” the bill – “that UK should stay in the EU”

  2. His arse has gone. Cretin.

    And he looks like ‘Eraserhead’ once he’s been genetically spliced with the Ronnie Barker character ‘Clarence’.

  3. It’s unbelievable that the Labour Party will go into the next GE not having an official view on whether Brexit will be good or bad for Britain. More fudge I suspect, forced on the Party by the unions. If the LP does not come off the fence there will be major clashes at the Brighton conference.

      1. rhodie1109. Ok smart guy tell me what Labour’s view is on whether Brexit will benefit or handicap Britain?

      2. Ceterus Paribus
        Labour brino will benefit Britain,
        Allow us to implement manifesto commitments and prepare us for next crash,
        Long term investment in people and infrastructure without interference from EU will reap huge rewards compared to neo liberal single currency EU

      3. Doug. There is no such thing as BRINO, Brexit is Brexit no matter how it’s disguised and in any form it will harm Britain.

      4. Jack T
        The thing that will cause the most damage to Britain is No Deal or No Brexit, both will prevent a Labour victory in GE,
        I have no time for purists, its time to get real and make sure your vote counts towards a JC led government
        Purity can resume once the day jobs been done,
        We are surely all agreed on the end result

      5. Doug, it makes no sense to say no Brexit will damage Britain, it’s what we have at the moment. If the LP got its act together it could make a perfectly valid case for no Brexit and put it to the test in a GE which without doubt, given the splits between the Tories and Farage, and the changing mood in the country, we would win.

        I notice that despite his eagerness to criticise, rhodie1109 still hasn’t answered my question.

      6. JackT, I wouldn’t go so far as to guarantee a win but I agree a very good – perhaps overwhelming – case for no brexit might be made based on what’s been learned over the last three years.

        The case should be made by Labour ONLY if genuine debate between academic economists makes the case first though.

        Politicians have had their chance to fuck the country up – let’s hear from some professionals.

      7. AS far as the subject of this thread is concerned, it is one of the issues that has given legs to people like Watson.

        We have had three years of this far right, Trump-backed circus that has *already* done significant damage to Britain, particularly in terms of international credibility (a great platform for trade negotiations!).

        In those three years, there has been absolutely *no* substantive case made for Brexit. Most of what you hear from those who supported Leave is repetition of the Johnson-type fictions from the bog-paper press that have long been blown out of the water.

        The only superficially rational case has been the that the EU economic framework is a neoliberal one. That is true – but the effect of removing those restrictions will be zero, since all future trade arrangements will contain similar restrictions whilst removing our participation in the body that re-shapes the main existing arrangements that we have.

        Corbyn’s careful statements yesterday about the folly of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit hid the full truth – that *every* Brexit will be damaging. And, of course, a ‘No Deal’ Brexit doesn’t exist – it actually means a later deal made under even less propitious circumstances. ‘Clean’ Break. My arse.

        This is why the Leave faction is kicking and screaming about the notion of democracy as a continuing process – they’ve lost the argument.

        … and ome Union leaders are skating on thin ice in selling out their members for short-lived votes among some.

        I despise Watson – but like a stopped clock he’s right on this one. It may pose practical problems, but to get Brexit out of the way before it confuses a a GE would be a good idea, if not (unfortunately) feasible. Otherwise the domestic agenda outlined yesterday will get lost.

        Failing that – align with the hard truth, and oppose Brexit.

        Further – if Labour wins a GE, it will be struggling to implement its agenda whilst under the cosh of on-going Brexit issues (for which it will be blamed). In terms of the current parliamentary dog’s dinner : You ain’t seen anything yet.

  4. ”He will say that “we only create the space for our important domestic agenda on the NHS, on crime, on environment, by being crystal clear on Brexit. Labour is remain.”

    Had he NOT acted like the gobshite he is for the last 3 years AND more, both over brexit AND the antisemitism farce and other matters then the party WOULD have had room to concentrate exclusively on the domestic agenda.

    But NO. HE HAD to act like a c**t, didn’t he?

    What a total prick he is. Just sod off watson, you irritating boil on the arsehole of humanity.

    Go on – get to soddery

  5. Let’s hope his CLP do the right thing tonight where he will be gone and not have a say in the Labour party ever again.Let the Fib democRAT’S deal with him

  6. Tom Watson was the subject of an official complaint of Ant-Semitism. Why has he not been suspended while being investigated, as others have been? Surely he should not be in a position to say anything while any enquiries are ongoing?

    1. Spot on
      Why are we relying on CLP to deal with TWatson, the party should have sorted this and others a long time ago

  7. By all means sack the traitor Watson. However, its no good wasting any more time on parliament’s impasse or on asking the EU for an extension or on the fantasy of solving the Irish border. The referendum was always a Tory solution to a Tory problem. Let them take responsibility not hand it to Corbyn. A specific EU referendum IMMEDIATELY; only then a General Election.

    A GE will muddy the EU issues & may not solve a thing if Boris wins or there’s another hung parliament. The only leave option is the (pathetic) May deal negotiated over 2 years. The people should be asked to vote for this versus remain in a final confirmatory referendum. NOW!

    One thing is certain; whatever Labour does, they will be criticised; just look at the press front page headlines last Friday. Nothing about Boris, all about ‘chicken’ Corbyn. A referendum is the most straightforwardly democratic solution and a decent chance remain would win especially as the Brexit Party & ERG are unlikely to turn out for May’s deal but also due to demographic changes. This time, it will be clear what we are voting for!

  8. So Watson, according to sky news review will say the referendom was not valid, essentially marginalising over 17 million voters many of whom voted for the first time .Confirming the idea the Blairite types would prefer a small party as long as the ‘club status returns and their jobs for life are protected .Helping the poor and transforming our society for the better is not even given a second thought . A terrible dark stain on the labour party

    1. I love your support for Cameron’s little scam to sort the Tory Party.

      The referendum was patently massively and observably flawed, even if you were of the minority that liked the result. End of.

      1. You’ll note rh offers no reply vis-a-vis ‘.Helping the poor and transforming our society for the better is not even given a second thought .’

        Nothing unusual from him on that score. Maybe if you’d put ‘Helping the lower classes out’ ,he’d have bitten.

      2. The, expressing support for the good when criticising the bad is optional.
        Anyone could trawl anyone else’s responses and find examples.
        Your complaint that others don’t praise the good is infantile, particularly as you’re the worst offender.

      3. The, expressing support for the good when criticising the bad is optional.

        It’s an ‘option’ rh never takes up. Is it some sort of taboo to notice the pattern – let alone bring it to other’s attention?

        Anyone could trawl anyone else’s responses and find examples.

        You’re only too welcome to trawl through mine, although you’ll find I’m at least consistent.


        Your complaint that others don’t praise the good is infantile, particularly as you’re the worst offender.

        What IS this ‘praising the good’ business? I give credit where due.

        However, nothing – NOT ONE THING – has come good from watson. And I’ve consistently called it out.

        Yet plenty on here – And it’s not hard to guess who you/they are…Have consistently kept schtum on watson’s INFANTILE twuntery that has caused all sorts of problems for the party and clouded the public’s perception of which direction it’s headed.

        So, if you’re looking for INFANTILE look directly at the twunt that got you your remain option/2nd ref policy without going through the due processes – in fact, by acting the c**t, as per.

        Then take a look at yourself for emboldening him through your indifference/ concealed unconditional support for his behaviour which got you those things.

        And isn’t it strange that rh has a problem when someone mentions their working/lower class credentials; but will call the bullingdon set?

        So go on – have another guess mcniven

  9. Labour has a sensible line which has been agreed by the unions and listen to Watson (when not enough MPs would back this anyway) and it could wipe Labour out unless this is what he wants?
    Hope West Bromich selects a socialist and if not hope the NEC refuses to endorse Watson who seems to have spent years undermining the Labour Leader and Labour in general.
    All Watson is doing at present is giving succour and ammunition to Johnson.
    Who will save us from this Right Wing Bonehead?
    He is just not a good enough to be part of the transformation which may be coming!

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