It seems unlikely that Tom Watson will regain any of the goodwill he has lost from the Labour Party membership with the kind of comments he has made about Jon Lansman.
While it is welcome that Mr Watson is at least trying to reconcile with Momentum, the grassroots support group for Jeremy Corbyn, it is a shame that the subject was a matter of selfishness by members of the Parliamentary Labour Party and that he expressed himself in a tired soundbite.
It’s only a couple of days since This Writer heard a radio pundit saying how refreshing it is that Jeremy Corbyn does not express himself in the well-worn, scripted lines that we’ve heard so many times before. “Hard-working people” was the phrase this person trotted out.
Now along comes Mr Watson, expressing his gratitude that Mr Lansman will not campaign for MPs who rebelled against Mr Corbyn to be deselected.
How does he describe them? “Hard-working Labour MPs”.
He must have said it without thinking. It is difficult to accept a description of someone as “hard-working” when they quit their job in June and have been conspiring against the boss ever since.
I know that is harsh commentary on some MPs who have at least tried to keep up with their constituency work, and one or two have produced some potentially worthwhile Parliamentary work as well. But for the most part, the label is unjustified.
Perhaps Mr Watson should find a less selfish platform on which to stand.
And perhaps he should think a little harder before speaking.
Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson appeared to offer an olive branch to Jon Lansman, the leading light in the Momentum campaign group and a Corbyn ally.
Last week, Lansman both ruled out deselection of so-called moderate MPs and criticised comments from the Unite union’s general secretary, Len McCluskey, which appeared to encourage a challenge to Watson. Watson told the Observer: “I am grateful for Jon Lansman’s clear and unambiguous promise that Momentum will not campaign for the deselection of hard-working labour MPs.
“Though I have been critical of Momentum in the past, its fringe conference in Liverpool was conducted for the most part in a non-partisan fashion and floated some interesting and creative policy ideas. Jon’s comments will help stabilise the ship after a difficult summer and are very much appreciated.”
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