Jeremy Corbyn puts Tom Watson firmly in his place during Sky News interview

Labour MPs Tom Watson and Jeremy Corbyn
Stefan Schmid

Jeremy Corbyn has publicly taken down comments made by Tom Watson about bullying in the party. In a fiery interview with Sky News, the Labour leader said that “of course” he disagreed with his deputy’s words.

Corbyn went on to say that he would be meeting with Watson to discuss his comments in the “very near future”:

 

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Watson’s comments

Watson’s claims came in the wake of seven Labour MPs resigning from the party to form the Independent Group. One more ex-Labour MP and three ex-Conservative MPs have since joined them.

In a video released on the day of the first resignations, Watson called for understanding of the reasons behind his ex-colleagues’ decisions.

The deputy leader spoke strongly of his support for Luciana Berger, and rightly condemned the abuse she has received. Watson said:

If someone like Luciana no longer believes there is a home for her in the Labour Party then many other colleagues will be asking themselves how they can stay.

However, the MP then went on to claim that a “virulent form of identity politics” had “seized” the party, saying:

I love this party. But sometimes I no longer recognise it.

“Of course I disagree with him”

In the Sky News interview, Corbyn stated there was “no place for harshness or bullying” in the party. He also agreed that the “antisemitic abuse” Berger has suffered is “absolutely dreadful”.

He did, however, defend the party’s disciplinary process. And he said that he does not believe bullying exists on a “wide-scale”. Quizzed directly on his deputy’s comments, Corbyn said:

You’d have to ask Tom Watson that, and I’ll be speaking to Tom Watson in the very near future to talk to him about that.

When asked if he disagreed with Watson, Corbyn replied:

Well, of course I disagree with him, because I do not wish to be in a party where there’s any bullying or harassment.

Moving Forward

It’s crucial that Labour, and the left in general, realise there’s a problem with antisemitism. It may be a small minority, but it’s still a minority too many. Blatant denial and using what-a-boutery to deflect the problem is definitely not the answer.

Using such a serious issue as a tool for political point-making is, however, also destructive. We need a sensible discussion, and more education on the nuances of antisemitism is absolutely key.

Corbyn is right to stick up for his party’s members. But he is also right to condemn any and all antisemitic views and abuse. At a time when the UK is at a massive crossroads, a strong Labour Party is crucial. And it’s now up to the party leader to step forward and make a positive case about the party’s direction. Let’s hope his deputy leader can follow suit.

Featured image screenshots via YouTube and Sky News – YouTube

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  • Show Comments
    1. Tom Watson just a Blair baby left behind will he jump or be pushed hmmm the greedie ones of the Labour Party are the ones pointing getting peoples expelled while they can say whot they like

    2. Having read the reasons the defecting MPs gave for leaving the party, it is clear to me that they are defining criticism of the State of Israel as antisemitism. I don’t believe that real antisemitism is significant within the Labour Party. The real reason these people are leaving is that they are afraid of Corbyn and afraid of socialism. They are closet Tories and we are better off without them. Same goes for Tom Watson.

      1. There’s criticism of Israel and then there’s obsessive demonising of Israel and holding it to standards not applied to any other country. And don’t you think the amount of personal, Jew-hating abuse that Luciana Berger, for instance, has received might have something to do with her decision to leave Labour?

        1. Thomas, I think you will find that the abuse she has allegedly suffered is from British neo-nazis not from within the labour party. You need to separate out two things here don’t you. She has been undermining Corbyn for some years now. She has a history of seeing anti-Semitism in everything dating back from 2005 – in fact, I think she is somewhat lacking in any rationale or evidence for her claims – it is an obsession with her. She is not fit to be an MP and certainly not a Labour MP – she is a single issue person who is obsessed with that issue. There is no obsessive demonising about Israel. They are a Fascist Govt with an ethnic cleansing policy in terms of the Palestinians whose territory yes, they most definitely occupy illegally. They take great delight in killing Palestinians because they do not recognise them as human beings. They shoot to kill at will and enjoy it because they know, however many UN motions are passed, they can willingly ignore them because they have the USA right behind them. Bibi has just made an electoral pact to stay in power with what can be described as a far right, seriously extremist, dangerous political party. Lucian Berger won’t win her seat back in any election because she is not an MP and most definitely not a Labour MP. She is an empty vessel with a single issue obsession.

          1. dissidents_unite, are you saying that Philip Hayes, the music producer convicted of a racially aggravated public order offence, who directed clearly antisemitic remarks at Berger, is a neo-Nazi? And could you give me some examples of her “history of seeing antisemitism in everything”?

    3. The list of ‘Tories’ is growing. Ever occur to you that maybe there are more people out there than you think who have been tolerating Corbyn’s agenda rather then believers in it.

      1. No I don’t Shakehands. Most people know that the Labour Party’s policies are badly needed in this country to restore jobs, restore the economy, bolster industry and the manufacturing industry, stop the roll out of Universal Credit and shore up badly needed public services. Those who have ‘tolerated it’ such as the seven idiots are not Labour MPs – they stood on the Labour Manifesto in 2017 and one increased majorities in their seats. If they were just ‘tolerating’ the Labour Party’s policies then they should have resigned prior to the election and not campaigned on the Party’s Manifestor. Shameless, two faced, dishonest bigots, the Party is far better off without them.

    4. if ‘most people’ want Jeremy Corbyn why – in the face of the the most incompetent government in history- is he still behind in the polls with his party falling further apart by the day.

      Such a lost opportunity. But keep preaching to the hard left minority. Don’t for a second think something may be wrong when so many experienced and respected MPs and former MPs have had enough.
      Thank goodness there is now a prospect of some alternative left of centre thinking which the Politburo will no doubt seek to shout down as treachery.

      1. At the risk of insulting your intelligence Shakehands , you maybe missing the elephant in the room it’s called THE MAIN STREAM MEDIA. Which is why ,funnily enough , we have these blogs like The Canary to counter the UTTER BOLLOCKS spouted by and believed by the many , by the MSM .
        Several studies have been done by various reliable sources , eg Cardiff Uni , that shows the total bias in reporting the facts regarding Labour and the most recent finding that here in the UK we have the most unreliable dishonest MSM in the study group.
        That’s why Labour is not streets ahead in fact it’s a bloody amazing that Labour in the face of such odds are doing so very well .
        Oh and BTW your misplaced hope that the TIG or should they be correctly called KTTIP party ( Keeping The Tories In Power ) will do exactly that , ensuring the continuation of many unnecessary deaths due to their policies and untold misery for most of the vulnerable in society.
        Happy about that ,want to be associated with that , these twats are nowt but a bunch of self centred vacuous individuals .

        1. Wholeheartedly agree with all you have said although I would add that these Neoliberal MPs on the right of the Labour party have used every trick in the book to destroy Jeremy Corbyn (personally) and all those “evil” people that believe in socialism, they would be more than happy to destroy the Labour party than to see a socialist (the real moderates) Government.

        2. Hard left politics are of course the real success story over the years for the KTIP party and Corbyn has continued that with gusto. A Tory masterclass.
          Yes the media in this country is diabolical but your are all completely deluding yourself if you think there are swathes of brainwashed people out there who simply need to wake up and recognise Jeremy Corbyn is the right leader for our country.

          On his watch he has sought to crush any opposition to his hard left agenda, been utterly invisible over Brexit and only now is waking up to smell the coffee that he risks sending the Labour party into oblivion. I,m afraid history will record the likes of youArchie as the KTIP party.

          1. Ok Shakehands with comments like that I can only assume you’re living in a delusional fairyland .
            But for the other readers on here I will correct your fakenews ,
            Corbyn has
            1.campaigned and ran more pro remaining meetings out on the “stump” than any other MP of any party . So was not invisible during the brexit campaign regarding remain, despite what you say It’s just that the MSM didn’t report any of it proving my point.
            2. Has been continuously opposing any No Deal brexit along with also opposing Theresa May’s disastrous deal . I’d hardly call that being invisible on brexit what is invisible is the mainstream Media not reporting all of his efforts and that of the Labour Party.
            Once again proving my point and you swallowed their rubbish believing what you were told to believe.
            3. Corbyn has appointed multiple x blairite members to his cabinet e.g Owen Smith even Tom Watson being deputy leader none of whom actually support a socialist left wing leadership or left wing socialist Labour Party.
            Once again I’d hardly call that crushing any response to his left wing agenda .
            And by the way his left wing agenda ,, that’s written by the membership at our Party Conference it’s called the Manifesto that’s what his agenda is .And we the membership wrote it .You may not like it as a closet TIG supporter but that’s your problem not ours.
            4. And finally an excellent article written by the Jacobin blog you can find it for yourself where they clearly illustrate how the SDP kept the Tories in power for 20 odd yrs or more (no Corbyn leadership then !) .
            No unfortunately the TIG your great hope that you seem to support are nothing more than Tory enablers made for people who don’t have the courage to tick the box on the voting form voting for a Tory.

    5. The funny thing is that Corbyn and Momentum backed Watson for the deputy leadership. It was the only reason I voted for him. However I have noticed he speaks with a forked tongue. He is part of the old mindset that means the likes of Umunna could claim to be a socialist whereas he was just someone who says anything to climb that greasy pole.

      Unfortunately there seem to be a lot of stupid people in Labour who actually believe the stories running in the snooze media. After 30 years of media manipulation (and many more before that) wether it is bloody sunday, the birmingham six, Hillsborough, institutional racism resulting in the murders of black people or just plain misinformation and misdirection running in papers from the soft porn site of the Daily Mail to the Remainer frenzy of the Independent, the right wing Labour bias of the Guardian or the anti left wing bias of the BBC (note how many Labour people from the right they have debating with Tories while often excluding left wing members of the Labour party and they ignore complaints with their bland replies).

      On the antisemitism stories – you should ask how many people have been prosecuted. After all it is an offence to make racist statements. I note that Umunna said only one person was arrested who posted comments to him. That says to me that only one person broke the law and all the others made comments that hurt his delicate feelings but did not break the law!

      There is nothing wrong with being anti Israeli state – that is not being antisemitic. As a Jew I am often appalled by the actions of the Israeli state whether it is the racist treatment of blacks in the country -even black Falasha Jews are treated as second class citizens to the ignoring of international laws to the beating of protestors and killing of Palastinians.

      Of course Israel has a right to exist but those with power are judged by how they exercise that power and Israel fails miserably.

      But of course the Israeli state is used to using its weapons to create chaos
      from using the holocaust card – I am surprised African states and black groups don’t use a similar card – after all more black people were killed and enslaved than Jewish people yet where are all the memorials?

      And of course they create groups to agitate and undermine democracy both in the US and the UK.

      And the media in the UK is little more than a vehicle for our masters so of course the Hacked Off campaign will never be allowed to succeed.

      Unfortunately the Canary needs to learn how to push its stories to the masses and at the moment it is failing in that regard!

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