Watson allies have trumpeted unanimous vote in last night’s branch meeting – but those attending closely linked and even employed by him
Labour deputy leader Tom Watson last night survived one of a series of branch ‘trigger’ votes that could have resulted in him being forced to contest his place as the party’s candidate in the West Bromwich East constituency.
PoliticsHome and former Sun journalist Kevin Schofield tweeted with apparent relish:
Given that the branch is likely to have hundreds of members, an attendance of just fourteen raises obvious questions – even more considering their composition. Of the fourteen who turned up to vote, according to local sources:
- two work or worked for Tom Watson – and one was the wife of one of the employees
- six consisted of the CLP chair – supportive of both Watson and the above employees – and family, one a right-wing councillor
- one was a parent of a councillor recently expelled by Labour for supporting a rival candidate
- one was a convenor for a right-wing union
The identities of the remaining three are currently unknown.
Was the result a failure of the local left to organise and challenge entrenched privilege? Undoubtedly.
Was it a ringing endorsement of a deputy leader widely despised among members of the party? Hardly – especially in a context where the West Midlands Labour board has just sent Watson a letter of censure.
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