Senior Labour figure accuses Tom Watson of using antisemitism debate to attack Labour leadership

Darren Williams of Labour's NEC and Labour deputy leader Tom Watson
Joshua Funnell

In a recording obtained by Sky News, a member of Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) has accused deputy leader Tom Watson of using antisemitism to attack the leadership.

The publication of Darren Williams’ views will be welcomed by some on Labour’s left. Many people view Watson as a constant thorn in the side of the leadership and a threat to Labour’s electoral success.

Undermining how antisemitism is tackled

Regarding how the party has dealt with antisemitism accusations, Williams said:

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 What is particularly frustrating, I think, is the way that certain key figures in the party – including obviously Tom Watson – have undermined, in my view, the way that the party has tried to deal with the issue in a serious and consistent fashion.

Williams specifically referred to Watson’s public suggestion in February that all complaints be forwarded to him personally. He argued that this:

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was obviously undermining the work that the party itself was doing, and was designed more to, I think, promote… his own position, and to attack the leadership, than to actually resolve the issues in any sensible way.

Williams on the wider issue of Labour antisemitism

Williams also commented on the broader issue of antisemitism accusations in Labour and how it was being handled.

According to Sky News, he argued that the problem was “completely unacceptable”. But he also recognised that it reflects only “a tiny proportion” of members.

He also stressed the lengths Labour has gone to in order to address the problem:

We have made a lot of concessions, including on the IHRA definition [International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism], some of which I wasn’t entirely happy with. But we are where we are, and I think the party has done enough to demonstrate to any fair-minded person that we do take the issue seriously. But that is clearly not going to stop the same people bringing the issue up whenever it’s convenient to do so.

Others are sick of Watson too

Watson’s perceived attempts to undermine Labour’s leadership have infuriated many Labour supporters.

Novara Media’s Michael Walker talks about Watson like a parody of a saboteur:

And in a piece for the Guardian, Dawn Foster tore into Watson for his conduct:

Foster accused him of being an example of a Labour MP who:

Make[s] a living by constantly attacking the leadership and promoting themselves over the party.

And for:

wrecking [the party] week by week, hoping to terminally undermine the leader and then inherit the ruins.

Foster also argued that the consequence of Watson’s attacks will:

not be electoral success under another Labour leader, but a Tory victory. And the people who need a Labour government to change their lives and communities are unlikely to forgive people like him.

Hopefully, more will follow Williams’ example and call out Watson

Sometimes it’s hard not to conclude that right-wingers like Watson would rather see Labour fail and the Tories in power than let Labour’s left succeed.

To stop this from happening, let’s hope more influential Labour figures follow Williams’ example and fight back against the likes of Watson.

Featured image via Rob Powell/Twitter and Good Morning Britain/YouTube.

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    1. There is very little left to be said about the appalling behaviour that Watson has exhibited over the last 3 yrs , but other than perhaps a motion at this Yrs Conference demanding that the membership be given a new vote on a OMOV basis to elect a new Deputy Leader as this one has constantly bought the party into disrepute .
      If he believes that he will inherit a compliant Labour membership and party after he gets rid of Corbyn he is sadly mistaken , he will inherit a MONSTER , however , my guess is that once this objective has been achieved his master and commander Max Mosley will give him a nice cushy number in his business with a nice fat pay cheque

    2. Archie, common sense as usual. He should resign from the Labour Party altogether as he is not genuinely interested but doing what his backers, i.e. Friends of Israel are asking him to do – the continuation of the lies of anti-semitism within the Labour Party. Don’t forget, a representative of the Israeli Embassy in the UK offered Joan Ryan, Labour MP, £1m to discredit and bring down Corbyn. So, sadly, our Government (this corrupt Tory Government) is being run by the Israeli Government and doing their bidding. Most people I have heard in conversation can see right through this anti-Semitism campaign against Labour for what it is, a vicious, malicious, sustained press campaign against Labour by the Israeli Govt/Embassy as they believe it is the only thing they have against Labour. They are mistaken, the majority of people absolutely deplore Israel’s actions against the Palestinians. In a General Election they are not going to vote on any anti-Semitism issue but rather, on policies such as affordable housing, cheaper transport, investment in jobs, in the economy, the redistribution of wealth, for a decent, honest Political Leader and other issues. Tom Watson shouldn’t stand again as a Labour MP, he should do what Chukka F***ka did, start his own breakaway party and when that fails, decamp to the Liberal Democrats because, if he wasn’t an MP he wouldn’t be able to do much else would he now? Let’s hope Max Moselely offers Tom Watson that lucrative job eh?

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