Tom Watson saved by Jeremy Corbyn: Move to abolish deputy post ditched.

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In the words of Len McCluskey: "There is another world in our movement, alas. A world of skulduggery, smears and secret plots. That is where you will find Tom Watson."

Jeremy Corbyn has quashed a motion at his party conference to oust Labour deputy, Tom Watson, by abolishing the position.

Late Friday night Jon Lansman, founder of the pro-Corbyn campaign group Momentum, tabled a last-minute motion at the party’s ruling national executive committee (NEC) on Friday night, calling for Watson’s job to be scrapped.

“We just can’t afford to go into an election with a deputy leader set on wrecking Labour’s chances.”

A Momentum source said: “No one person is more important than beating Boris Johnson, ending austerity and tackling the climate emergency.

“Labour members overwhelmingly want a deputy leadership election, but our outdated rulebook won’t let it happen. You need 20% of Labour MPs to trigger an election, and they just won’t let the members have a fair and open election.”

Chair Wendy Nichols ruled the motion out of order. Members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) voted 17-10 to rule it back in, but it needed a two-thirds majority.

Now it is on the agenda for a crucial NEC meeting at 10am tomorrow – and will need only a simple 50% majority to pass.

If it passed, it would then be sent to the floor of this weekend’s annual conference in Brighton for a final vote.

The move would have set up a dramatic showdown and could see Tom Watson dislodged from power within days after four years of on-and-off battles with parts of the left.

Corbyn intervention

Jeremy Corbyn has quashed a motion and suggested the role should be reviewed instead, this was backed by the ruling National Executive Committee, a Labour source said.

A group of Labour MPs had urged the NEC to avoid an “internal civil war” when it should be preparing for an election.

Speaking ahead of the party conference in Brighton, Watson told the BBC he found out late on Friday in a text message that a motion had been tabled by Jon Lansman, founder of Labour grassroots group Momentum.

He said he felt Mr Lansman “and his faction” were so angry with him over his calls for Labour to “unequivocally back remain” and have another public vote on Brexit, that they would “rather abolish me than have a debate about it”.

Mr Watson called the move to oust him a “sectarian attack” on a “broad church”.

However contrary to Tom Watson’s version, most Labour members would suggest it was a popular counter attack on a divisive negative force within the Labour Party. Tom Watson feeds on controversy and exploits situations to attack the very leader whom as deputy leader he as a self declared mandate to support.

In the words of Len McCluskey: “There is another world in our movement, alas. A world of skulduggery, smears and secret plots. That is where you will find Tom Watson.”

“When Labour has needed loyalty he has been sharpening his knife looking for a back to stab. When unity is required, he manufactures division.”

McCluskey said Watson ‘has form as long as his arm’ when it comes to political plots. “[Watson] is a product of the manipulative and authoritarian culture of the old trade union right wing, for whom power was an end in itself, and all means acceptable to attain it.

There is another world in our movement, alas. A world of skulduggery, smears and secret plots.

That is where you will find Tom Watson.

When Labour has needed loyalty he has been sharpening his knife looking for a back to stab. When unity is required, he manufactures division.”

McCluskey said Watson ‘has form as long as his arm’ when it comes to political plots. “[Watson] is a product of the manipulative and authoritarian culture of the old trade union right wing, for whom power was an end in itself, and all means acceptable to attain it.

After his intervention, Mr Corbyn told reporters outside the conference centre that he “enjoyed” working with Mr Watson.

He later said: “The NEC agreed this [Saturday] morning that we are going to consult on the future of diversifying the deputy leadership position to reflect the diversity of our society.

“And the conference will move on to defeating austerity, to the green industrial revolution, green new deal that we are putting forward and giving the people a final say on Brexit.”

Mr Lansman said he fully supported Mr Corbyn’s proposal to review the deputy leader post.

“We need to make sure the role is properly accountable to the membership while also unifying the party at conference. In my view, this review is absolutely the best way of doing that,” he said.

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