Of course Tom Watson wants to change the Labour leader election rules – it’s about power

Tom Watson wants to change Labour Party rules so MPs regain control over who gets to be leader. Should he be allowed to do this? [Image: Getty.]

Tom Watson wants to change Labour Party rules so MPs regain control over who gets to be leader. Should he be allowed to do this? [Image: Getty.]

Does Tom Watson really think the Labour Party’s hundreds of thousands of members will meekly accept his plan to strip them of the only real power they have?

Mr Watson seems to think it is a good idea to change the leadership election system back from ‘one member, one vote’ to the old ‘electoral college’ scheme in which MPs, unions and the membership had one-third of the votes each.

But here’s the thing: Ed Miliband only changed to ‘one member, one vote’ in an attempt to mollify MPs who had complained that he had only been elected leader because the trade unions had too large a say.

Now we’re being told MPs want to change the system back because the members have too large a say?

There’s only one conclusion to be had: MPs want their say to be the only one that matters.

That’s not going to happen. The Parliamentary Labour Party thought Labour’s wider membership was far more right-wing than it turned out to be – they were out of touch; that’s why Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader last year and why it is likely he’ll be re-elected this year with a stronger mandate.

The last thing any self-respecting Labour member is going to do, now that they have a leader who’s saying things they want to hear, is give power back to the people who want to get rid of him.

Even if Mr Watson succeeds in persuading a National Executive Committee whose members are retiring immediately after they meet this month, the wider membership will simply have the decision reversed.

It is undemocratic. And those responsible – including Mr Watson – will have to face the consequences of their actions.

Tom Watson is preparing a dramatic bid to strip Jeremy Corbyn of his power base by changing how Labour elects its leaders.

Mr Watson is set to table an overhaul of Labour Party rules at the national executive committee (NEC) meeting this month, the Mirror understands.

The Deputy Leader wants to scrap the ‘one member one vote’ system used for electing Labour leaders, and restore the old ‘electoral college’ which gave an equal say to party members, trade unions and Labour MPs.

His package of reforms would also restore shadow cabinet elections, stripping further power from the hands of Mr Corbyn.

Source: Tom Watson ready to tear up Labour rules that helped get Jeremy Corbyn elected – Mirror Online


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11 thoughts on “Of course Tom Watson wants to change the Labour leader election rules – it’s about power

  1. joanna

    Here are Tom Watson’s words from his Deputy Leader Candidate Booklet:

    “A quarter of a Million individual party members collectively shaping the party’s destiny in this way is exactly the kind of people powered politics that can lead us back to Downing Street. Indeed it is the only route.”
    “Whoever the new leader is, I will back them 100%.”
    “And if you extend me the privilege, I’d like to fortify our leader as their deputy. It’s a job I think I have the skills and the experience to do really well. The booklet explains why and how.”

    ‘A Strong Voice For You’
    “What matters is the difference we make. Labour membership is now 250,000 strong.If we organise, mobilize and harness the potential of every single party member, there’s no limit to what we can achieve”

    Two faced methinks!!!

    1. Rusty

      Double talk if you ask me! What he really meant was “I’ll do whatever you want so long as it’s what I want!!!”

  2. Kaye Lowe

    He was happy enough to change it away from the old system when he thought it was the unions with “too much power”. The new system bothers him because it gives the members “too much power”. What they really want, as we all know, is no-one able to vote except elected Labour MPs (and maybe their mates).

  3. rupertrlmitchell

    I want a party to operate with full openness and with dignity and concern for its members’ wishes; not for just a few MP’s whims and that is the reason I am so very happy that Jeremy Corbyn is going to win this election.

    I want my democratic right to vote for him which, to date, I have been unable as my polling papers have still not arrived. I feel certain that this can only due to some administrative error and that they will arrive in time for me to take advantage of my democratic right; however I feel we are all owed an explanation as to how this error came about so that it can never happen again.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      If your vote hasn’t arrived by Monday, phone Labour on 0345 092 22 99, choose option 5, wait around 15 minutes for an answer (I had to) and then give them your membership number and say your vote hasn’t arrived.
      I did this yesterday (Friday) and received an email later in the day.

  4. Glenn

    As I understand it, if the old guard NEC in a last act of desperation pass Watson’s plan, it has to be endorsed at conference and hopefully they don’t have the support there for it.

  5. Jane Kane

    As requested above, I TOO should like to know what proportion of those purged for abuse are members who wanted to vote for Corbyn and for those wanting Smith please

Comments are closed.