Referendum-first ‘Watson plan’ taking hold of LOTO – ‘pushed by McDonnell’, say media

Plan pushed by Watson – said to be backed by McDonnell

A plan pushed by Tom Watson to delay a general election for months and push for a referendum to be held first is gaining traction at the top of the Labour Party – reportedly with the aid of Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell.

Watson wants to put off any general election until at least summer next year and hold a new Brexit referendum before then – on the ludicrous premise that the narrow remain win he is hoping for will settle the Brexit question, rather than inflame it. Watson’s plan is driven by an awareness that a general election will not help remainers because of remain’s unpopularity in a majority of Labour constituencies – and, many believe, by a desire to reduce Labour’s electability in order to remove Corbyn.

A number of media commentators, including ITV and Sky News correspondents, have reported that John McDonnell has put his weight behind the plan since a number of Corbyn’s closest advisers were moved out of Corbyn’s office to Labour’s Southside HQ:

McDonnell has denied the claims.

The Watson move would require the overturning of Labour’s conference motion supporting Corbyn’s plan to decide Labour’s referendum position after the general election.

If the reports are true, it appears McDonnell believes he can do this via a ‘Clause V’ meeting to finalise Labour’s manifesto position – which would also force Labour into a ‘full remain’ stance if a referendum has not already been held.

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  1. If McDonnell is supporting Watson like this, then the writing really IS on the wall.

    I despair…

    1. John McDonnell isn’t supporting Tom Watson on this. He agrees with an election now. This is the bloody right wing spinning.

      Its a classic tactic don’t fall for it , it’s Twatson that should be sufficient to tell you all that you need to know .

  2. This is all a lot of cobblers. It’s an effort to try and cause a divide between Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell. This issue was debated and agreed at conference. We are having an election, we will then go to the EU with a deal. If agreed it will be put to the people to choose whether to leave on that deal or to remain. Watson has no say this. He is scared of losing an election.

    1. Absolute right Elizabeth Ramsden.
      The articles also states”McDonnell has denied the claims” – thats enough for me . I’d take John McDonnell’s word over “media commentators” like Sky and ITV any day of the week. All we need now is for the BBC to wade in – this will prove its just another MSM divide and conquer tactic.

    2. Like comments by Elizabeth Ramden and timfrom. I hope John McD. will add/has added some chapter and verse to his “denial”. Meanwhile, I see that Sadiq Khan has a long article in the Guardian, in full support of Watson’s position – yes, despair.

  3. No time for Watson after his repeated attempts to undermine Jeremy Corbyn but despite Skwawky’s failure to acknowledge that voters can change their mind, unless we push for a GE with Remain in our manifesto, a second referendum plus campaigning for Remain is the most sensible option.

    Leaving the EU only has benefits in the minds of the far right – and a few Lexiters.

    1. Must be good to know that Watson; Blair;McDonnell; Starmer; Campbell; Hodge et al Blairites all agree with you as Blair himself champions the Neo-Liberal Globalisation Project.

      1. Stephanie? give up, you know you’ve lost the argument when you can’t give one single instance of how the UK will benefit from leaving the EU and have to resort to the old fall backs of Blair, neo-liberal clap trap accusations. It’s serious now, no time for deluded leftism, it’s realistic leftism we need.

      2. Jack T’s “realistic leftism” really means keeping neoliberalism.

        Any serious Corbyn anti-austerity programme would be scuppered by the EU Free Movement of Capital as corporations and individuals move money abroad at the first sign of substantial progressive taxation to fund the programme.

        The EU’s Treaty and legislation prevent any substantial extension of public ownership by giving corporations the right to sue for any closing-off of markets. The unlimited labour supply guaranteed by the Free Movement of Persons depresses working class wages. And the racist EU funds outsourced concentration camps for non-whites and a policy of drowning non-whites in the Med to keep Fortress Europe intact.

        The biggest lie – being peddled by Fake Left Owen Jones among others – is that the EU can be reformed. It cannot. Only if ALL Member States agree can the Treaties be change. Those who purport to support Remain and Reform really just want to Remain.

      3. ” Those who purport to support Remain and Reform really just want to Remain.”


        But better that than chasing illusory, ill-defined rainbows that will never gain support or make lives better.

        Lexit = Pointless Vacuity

    2. “Leaving the EU only has benefits in the minds of the far right – and a few Lexiters”

      You do know that the EU is a neo-libberal organisation, don’t you? And that it will do all it can to hinder/declare illegal any labour plans for public ownership?.

      1. Marty, yes I do know those things. I also know you are wrong about not being able to implement our policies of public ownership. Stop listening to the deluded Lexiters.

      2. @Jack T

        “a matter of “deluded lexiters”.

        From the Independent (not a particularly left sympathetic journal), Friday 21 June 2019,

        ” in 2016 the [EU]bloc approved a package of legislation called the Fourth Rail Package, which will come into force from 2023. This includes a series of new rules whose intention is to bring the private sector and market competition into the railways….. it effectively forces member states to replace some of their routes with privately operated ones, even when they don’t really want to…..subsidised routes will have to be put out to open tender, and private companies be allowed to bid for them in a commercial process….Going rogue [against this] would also leave the government open to being taken to the European Court of Justice by private companies angry that they are missing out on lucrative contracts; it could also face infringement action from the Commission… But in practice, the latest regulations will make it impossible to get rid of private operators entirely. In short, it would be possible to recreate British Rail, but not to have it running the whole system in the way it did before privatisation. Ultimately, the answer to whether EU rules stop Britain nationalising its railways is: it depends on what you mean by nationalising them.

        That sounds like neo-liberalism interfering in a lab govt plan to unify railways and run them in OUR interests. You are somewhat naive if you do not recognise this and think everything will be rosy in the EU…

      3. Marty, according to Jonathan Cowie, Edinborough Napier University, the pending changes to EU rail regulation, known as the fourth railway package, don’t require member states to privatise any aspect of their rail networks. Neither do they require any member to break up its national operator.

      4. Marty, you should know that all competition rules require specialists in how rules and regulations are interpreted and implemented. It would not be beyond the whit of a Labour government to put our policies into practice in the EU. Don’t forget that when many of the existing EU regulations were suggested, the Tories we’re in power. With Labour in power we will have a much greater influence.

  4. Why the twisted knickers? It’s an obviously logical plan, whether Watson is an advocate or not.

    There is absolutely no chance of Labour getting its domestic agenda across whilst Brexit is the dominant issue to be resolved. The idea never made sense – another cutting off the nose job, symptomatic of wider tactical blundering and Brewery situations in the Party.

  5. Why believe the gutter press. John has denied it on the pages of Sqwawk box.Are we the Labour party not up to rebuting propoganda

  6. What this article completely fails to acknowledge is the rapidly shifting sands as to what Parliament might actually vote for. And that is not something Labour has control of.

    Let’s suppose Johnson brings back a deal. Parliament can do one of three things:

    Pass it.
    Reject it.
    Pass it subject to a referendum.

    Any of those outcomes would have significant implications for how a general election might go. If Labour was the cause of the deal being rejected and an extension resulting, that might harm them in many of their heartland seats. If they pass it, it might well harm them in their remain seats. And if they reject it and the result is no deal, everyone might well turn on them.

    It is also entirely plausible in this scenario that Parliament would NOT vote for a General Election.

    It is therefore easy to imagine a calculation that passing the deal subject to a referendum gives Labour its best prospects in the subsequent general election.

    1. You are absolutely right about the shifting sands. It’s not a good idea to commit to a GE willy-nilly – and simply hand victory to the Tories.

      Obviously, a proper referendum is now the only way out of the political shit-show that is a symptom of the dire state of politics. Only the fake democrats would deny that – and the Lexitories with their tacit agreement with the right of the government and the plutocrat press.

      The question then devolves onto the best timing for a referendum – and I can’t see any benefit to Labour in going into an election contaminated by the Brexit question – especially if its position is ambiguous – or, worse, doesn’t reflect the ‘Remain’ position of the majority of supporters. They will gift votes in that situation to the LDs and Greens in large numbers in recognition of the adoption of Tory policy rather than opposition to it.

    2. I completely agree.

      The focus needs to switch from fighting the threat of no deal to the possibility that within the coming days/weeks Johnson may well come back with a deal, in which case passing it, subject to a confirmatory vote, would at least be in alignment with the spirit of the agreement passed at conference. (It is, at this stage, only the withdrawal agreement. and it will be up to whoever is in government to shape ensuing trade agreements etc.) If parliament doesn’t support a confirmatory vote then, yes, Labour may find themselves in a very difficult position and will have to have found things deeply wrong with the accord if they are to reject it.

      And any notion of a referendum before there is a W.A. on offer, would most certainly be beyond crazy.

  7. A 2nd Referendum before a GE and the Corbyn dream is over.
    Hope JM not thinking of his own Parliamentary skin?
    Stick with JC.

  8. No Deal, GE, hopefully Labour win, public vote Labour’s Better Brexit v Remain.
    Unless Johnson in the meantime steals Labour’s clothes.

  9. The closer a socialist Labour get to power, the more the media and establishment bitches like Twatson will be Machiavellian in their desperate attempt to save their own gravytrain.

  10. For the love of a merciful god,
    To morons for No Deal and No Brexit, you have not got the numbers, you never had the numbers, you are completely fucking innumerate,
    Its about the only thing most people agree on,
    80% of the great unwashed just want brexit over with a decent deal,
    Methinks private polling backs this up as increasingly desperate fake news is put out there

  11. If true, John McDonnell despises the sovereignty of the conference just as much as the Blairites used to. The conference decision was to have a general election first. However, holding this off until Boris Johnson has destroyed himself would be wise. But Labour must not call for a second refendum – that is disrespectful of democracy (the first referendum), and will lose Labour 70 seats!!! North, Wales, and the Midlands. The EU elections in May proved it.

    1. I agree and therefore believe all this is the spin and politicing of the anti-Corbyn progressltd/peoplesvote/ anti-socialists in Labour

      Watson & Co. are the people who thought they had won eternal control of Labour untiil McDonnell, Corbyn and the Socialist Campaign Group showed them otherwise.

    2. Sarah, are people not allowed to change their mind, either way, when they have more information about the consequences of an earlier decision? What sort of democracy denies them that right?

      1. The conference decision that Sarah Brookes refers to does allow people to change their minds – maybe you missed that.

      2. Paulo, maybe you missed the bit where Sarah said Labour must not call for a second referendum!

  12. As we know nature + aims o AC, NC…all WCs, then McD should freeze them out completely. Deny them more publicity. Never appease. Never pander. The MSM incl guardian, mirror + ind will ignore context and highlight 4 eg:

    “AC: I bumped into Ann Cryer and she said – back to my expulsion – she’d written to Jeremy. She said that she, and you and he, rebelled regularly and consistently and nobody ever thought about kicking you out.

    JM: No, exactly, and that’s why I was so annoyed about it.

    AC: But Jeremy has, again it may be the people around him, but there is a sense that it’s his way or the highway.

    JM: No, I completely disagree with that.

    AC: Some of these reselections?

    JM: No. Interestingly enough, the one thing that Jeremy has said is that the local people will decide.

    AC: But he intervened in the Ilford one recently?

    JM: No, that was done by the NEC [National Executive Committee] officers – they intervened overall.

    AC: What about the Tom Watson fiasco at conference?

    JM: Yeah. It was a fiasco.

    AC: Was Jeremy just not present or not engaged? Or was he engaged and it went wrong?

    JM: Things happened that Jeremy wasn’t aware of and when he became aware he intervened. But he intervened by providing his view to the NEC and they adopted it.”

  13. A GE before a 2nd referendum would be a one issue only election – any other manifesto policy statements would be of minor consideration.

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