There is one politician, however, who is clearly enjoying conference and that’s Watson. Watson allies are delighted with how this whole affair has turned out. ‘They are the ones who are crumbling,’ says a Labour figure of the Corbynistas. ‘They can’t come at him again for a while’. Meanwhile, Labour members report of frenzied scenes when ever Watson enters a room. ‘He’s being high-fived and clapped. I’ve never witnessed him being so popular,’ says one bemused attendee. Watson received a standing ovation at the Progress rally – before and after he spoke.
Amid intense behind-the-scenes arm-twisting today, public services union Unison broke ranks to declared it will oppose the leader’s Brexit fudge.
But the Momentum pressure group appears to have handed Mr Corbyn a lifeline by signalling its activists will be in his camp, rather than with the Remainers.
In a shock split, its founder Jon Lansman made clear he did not agree with the decision, tweeting that ‚members should feel free to vote with their conscience‘.
A source close to Corbyn tells me he expects the block vote of the unions to defeat that motion on Monday when put to conference, although another source told me the two giant unions, Unison and Unite, are no longer as one and Unison may peel away from Unite and abstain.
Labour’s Brexit stance appears ever more confused at the party conference in Brighton, despite the event being seen as an opportunity to unify divided MPs.
Several members of Labour’s top team, including deputy leader Tom Watson – who survived an attempt to remove his role within the party – have spoken out in support of remaining in the EU.
Following a failed Corbynite attempt to oust Tom Watson as deputy leader, a successful attempt to give the party’s national executive committee say over any interim leader and the news that Corbyn’s top aide has quit, there’s talk that the Labour leader is on the way out. Appearing on the Andrew Marr show in Brighton this morning, Jeremy Corbyn tried his best to kibosh the idea.
Watson gilt als moderate Kraft bei Labour, ist aber auch ein beständiger Kritiker seines Parteivorsitzenden Jeremy Corbyn. Er findet, Corbyn gehe nicht klar genug gegen antisemitische Tendenzen in der Partei vor, und beim Brexit-Kurs verlangt er – anders als Corbyn – ein eindeutiges Ja für den Verbleib.
The revelations come a day after the Labour leader was forced to step in to save Tom Watson’s job, after Jon Lansman tried to scrap the post of Labour deputy leader.
The Momentum chief launched a shock attempt to remove Mr Watson – with the support of the Unite union – at a meeting of Labour’s ruling national executive committee on Friday night.
If you had a lie-in this morning you may have missed that Momentum’s attempt to purge Watson has failed. You may have missed it had even started last night. Jon Lansman, the multi-millionaire founder of Momentum proposed to the party’s governing NEC that the position of Deputy Leader be abolished. The headbanging outriders of Corbyn on Twitter were ecstatic, most Labour MPs were alarmed, it was reported that Gordon Brown had phoned Corbyn and McDonnell to lobby against the move, Tony Blair publicly backed the man who initiated the “curry plot” that led to his demise. Corbyn blinked.
Momentum boss Jon Lansman has launched a bid to axe the post of Labour deputy leader because of Tom Watson’s „disloyalty“ over Brexit.
In a shock move, he tabled an emergency motion at a meeting of Labour’s ruling national executive committee on the eve of the party’s annual conference in Brighton.
Mr Watson, who is a member of the NEC, could not attend the meeting for childcare reasons and was assured there was nothing „controversial“ on the agenda.
Jon Lansman, a prominent figure in the UK Labour Party, advocated that Jeremy Corbyn be removed as party leader three years ago.
The revelation challenges Lansman’s reputation as a key Corbyn supporter.
In 2016, Lansman told Labour activist Graham Bash that the left would be much better served if Corbyn was replaced by John McDonnell, the shadow finance minister.
Labour’s deputy leader and once known as an arch-plotter (he was one of Gordon Brown’s closest allies in his attempts to force his frenemy Tony Blair out of office), Watson is now Labour’s Deputy Leader.
He has the rare asset of a „mandate“ (a word never used so often in British public life as it was following Corbyn’s shock victory) almost as large as Corbyn’s. In the same September 2015 election that installed Corbyn, Watson became his deputy with just over 50 percent support in the third round of voting.