It turns out Tom Watson made an error that has exposed his anti-Corbyn sabotage

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Tom Watson seems to have made an error that may have just exposed his anti-Jeremy Corbyn sabotage. The apparent website for the deputy leader’s Future Britain Group – his new centrist group within the Labour party – was anonymously created on 18 February. That’s the very same day that the seven centrist MPs splintered from Labour to start the Independent Group.

The revelation will add to concerns from the Labour grassroots that Watson is coordinating with the defecting MPs.

Working hand in glove?

Somebody anonymously registered the domain name “futurebritaingroup.co.uk” on the same day that the defectors left:

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The website address is not currently live. But the date of its registration contributes to a pattern Labour supporters may find concerning. Back on 18 February, Watson released a video lamenting that his fellows MPs had left, shortly after they departed. He also suggested that Corbyn should reshuffle his frontbench in order to accommodate more centrist opinions and avoid more defections. The thing is, Corbyn initially welcomed Blairites and centrists onto his front bench when he became leader. But they only thanked him with a coordinated coup attempt.

Now, the timing of Watson immediately releasing his video response and the registration of the Future Britain Group website suggests we may be witnessing another planned attempt from the centrists to undermine Corbyn. Labour supporters elected Corbyn on two record-breaking mandates. Nonetheless, Watson and the centrists could be using the threat of more defections to try and force policy concessions from the leadership. Even though the party increased its voteshare by more than at any point since 1945 in the last election.

Watson had not responded to The Canary‘s request for comment by the time of publication.

Policy requests

On 11 March, about three weeks after the initial defections, Watson held the first Future Britain Group parliamentary meeting. The group claims that around 70 Labour MPs and 60 peers attended the meeting, which Watson claims isn’t another parliamentary faction. Newly elected Bristol North West MP Darren Jones, meanwhile, is organising the group’s policy direction. But Labour supporters will likely be concerned at any move away from the 2017 manifesto. YouGov polling from September 2018 shows that Labour voters did not opt for the party because of the opinions of centrist MPs. 83% of Labour supporters voted for the party because of either its policies or values. By contrast, just 1% voted for the party because they support individual MPs. Additionally, the Labour manifesto was the first ever to go viral on the internet, with 63,000 shares in a matter of days.

Attendees at Watson’s 11 March meeting shed a light on its direction. They included Tony Blair’s former spin doctor Peter Mandelson, who’s previously declared that he tries to undermine Corbyn “every single day”. Along with Neil Kinnock, Margaret Hodge and Hilary Benn, Mandelson delivered a speech to the attendees.

If Watson and centrist parliamentarians are trying to use the threat of more defections to control the leadership, Corbyn’s team would be wise to resist. As the YouGov polling suggests, people vote for Labour’s policies and values as a whole. They aren’t particularly concerned with the opinions of a bunch of right-leaning MPs.

With centrist politics in abject global decline, Labour would demolish the Independent Group in a general election. And that’s what counts.

Featured image via Guardian News/ YouTube

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  • Show Comments
    1. The reality is that there are a lot of centrist Labour MPs and always have been and the same goes for Labour voters. If that wasn’t the case, Corbyn would be miles ahead in the polls as a prospective PM.

      He has made an important contribution on austerity but that alone is unlikely to provide a path to Downing St.

      Corbyn spent his entire career rebelling so shouldn’t have a problem with those who don’t agree with all his policies.

      A further split in both the main parties now seems inevitable and perhaps long overdue. That’s democracy and looking at the shambolic state of the current Parliament how much worse could it be.

      1. There is a difference Shakehands between being a ‘centrist’ MP and being an ‘oust Corbyn MP’ – which the TIG are. Corbyn would be miles ahead in the polls but for the evil, malicious, vicious, relentless, abusive and vitriolic campaign the MSM (all right wing) are and continue to mount against him. That Labour polled so well in the last election and the significant rise in Labour Party membership under Corbyn shows the public like and want the Labour Party Manifesto and the brilliant campaign Corbyn and the Labour Party ran. The Tory Government conversely, and specifically May, didn’t have a costed Manifesto, May refused to do any public appearances or speak at public events and declined to engage in a televised debate between the three Party Leaders. Nevertheless, the MSM supported a weak, fraudulent and incompetent campaign to the hilt. Corbyn doesn’t appear to me to have a problem with those who don’t agree with his policies and has said as much in interviews. The problem is with the TIG Group and other similar minded MPs who are closet Tories that are trying to sabotage him because they don’t like the Manifesto. Well, all these MPs campaigned under that Manifesto and they significantly increased their majorities. The UK badly needs the Policies in Labour’s Party Manifesto to reverse 10 years of a grossly incompetent, fascist government (they cannot be described as anything else). Good old fashioned Keynsian economics is what is required for this Country to stimulate growth, employment, industry and social infrastructure. Corbyn and the Labour Party can and will deliver that.

        As for the Corbyn saboteurs within the Party, they should be deselected by their Constituency Parties and MPs who do support investment in the UK and the social infrastructure to a create a fairer and more equal society.

    2. What I find really annoying with this Group of so called Labour MPs is that what is it they are not understanding about the British public. Under Corbyn, Labour garnered the largest number of votes for it since the Wara. People interviewed said they voted for the Labour Manifesto, anti-austerity, investment in jobs and housing, in the NHS, in education, re-privatisation of key industries and so on and so forth. They are just what this country needs after 10 years of a Fascist Government under Cameron and now May who have destroyed the economy, Brexit, jobs and the manufacturing industry because they are grossly incompetent, not interested in the average working person, eager to please the rich and their own Tory Party benefactors and don’t give a damn about this Nation – hence the gross and chronic mis-handling of Brexit. Thanks to its own Propaganda Machine – the MSM – they think they are stopping the Labour Party Manifesto but they are not – the message is getting across loud and clear to those who do not read the MSM.

      Tom Watson and his band of cronies all increased their majorities under Corbyn’s leadership and Labour came very close to winning the election. Corbyn’s are, indeed, progressive policies – investment in people, industry and infrastructure – just what this Country needs – a good old fashioned dose of Keynsian economics. Tom Watson should resign as a Labour MP so his seat can be open to someone who does espouse the Labour Party Manifesto.

      I am going to shout this loud and clear Tom Watson and your cronies WE DO NOT WANT ANY MORE ‘CENTRIST’ (AKA FASCIST/RIGHT WING/NEO CON) POLICIES. WE WANT WHAT CORBYN HAS TO OFFER – WE WANT A RADICAL MANIFESTO WHICH LABOUR IS OFFERING. GET A LIFE OR GET OUT OF THE LABOUR PARTY

      1. I am afraid this is where the problem is. Calling anyone who does not fully buy in to Corbyn’s radical brand of politics a fascist is not going to a lead to government. It’s student politics, frankly offensive and shows a level of bias and intolerance that would embarrass the already lowest of the low “MSM”. Outside of political bubble meetings it would be laughable.

        There is nothing to suggest there is a majority in the electorate who see Corbyn as a PM despite the most diabolical self serving Tory government in history.
        That may be tested sooner rather than later given the utter shambles our MPs have managed to concoct.

    3. While I don’t support party infighting and self destruction, I am finding it hard to follow what direction Corbyn is taking these days. His own Brexit specialist MP, Keir Starmer (Sir), is stomped on every time he suggests something that is vaguely in the public’s interest. That is to simply remain in the EU or at least promote an opportunity for the public to voice their opinion now that the facts are on the table.

      What Eurosceptic Corbyn seems to be doing is to pursue his own version of Labexit or some such idiot thing. We need a strong opposition party and we need to get back to work. The country is haemorrhaging businesses and industry that will take decades to re establish if it goes on this way.

      Countless results of research shows that remaining in the EU is hugely better than to break away and go it alone. Go to where? Into the arms of Trump? Don’t even think about that one.

      As for the antisemite issue, some responsible person must call Benjamin Netanyahu and tell him and his thugs to back off. Those persons in the labour party who insist on endlessly announcing that antisemitism is rife in the Labour party need to have a dirty rag stuffed in their mouths and told to fu*k off. This is so obviously an Israeli action to attack any opposition to their aggressive policies. If you are not for us, you are against us, is Netanyahu’s motto.

      Skip this next part if you have read it 100 times.

      There is a simple solution that the government can make if they have the courage. Here it is:

      Withdraw A50, the quickest and least expensive way out of this mess we are in. How can conditions that exist in the UK right now be preferable to resuming our seat at the top table as a respected and honourable member of the world’s largest trade group? Don’t forget, we would not forfeit our right to decide to leave at a later date. When we have a plan and are better prepared, but not now.

    4. Well considering that Jeremy Corbyn campaigned for remain & gave more speeches for it than almost anyone else, plus the fact that he voted to remain, what evidence do you have to back up your claim that he supports Brexit, other than your own prejudices.

      1. He went on holiday during the campaign and the “more speeches” thing is completely made up. He’s always hated the EU. He will sabotage any attempt at a new referendum. Only today he’s reversed the party’s position on a referendum on May’s deal.

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