Tom Watson Quits Parliament and Deputy Leadership of Labour Party

Tom Watson, the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, has unexpectedly stood down from the role and confirmed that he won’t be standing at the 2019 General Election. Watson said that he would continue to campaign for the Labour Party, saying “after 35 years in full-time politics, I’ve decided to step down and will be campaigning to overcome the Tory-fuelled public health crisis. I’m as committed to Labour as ever. I will spend this election fighting for brilliant Labour candidates and a better future for our country.”

Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Labour Party, posted on Twitter:

“Thank you @tom_watson for your service to our party and your constituents. I know you’ll continue to take on the vested interests of the Murdoch empire, big sugar companies and the gambling industry. This is not the end of our work together.”

Watson has held the deputy leadership role since 2015 and he has represented the constituency of West Bromwich East since 2001, securing a majority of 7,713 in 2017.

Zarah Sultana, Labour Candidate for Coventry South, Admits Hate Speech

Zarah Sultana, the newly selected Labour candidate for the constituency of Coventry South, has admitted and apologised for hate speech which she posted on-line.

Four years ago, Sultana posted on social media:

“Try and stop me when the likes of Blair, Netanyahu and Bush die”.

The Jewish Chronicle also reported that Sultana has previously called for violence by Palestinians when she corrected a post saying that instead of “non-violent resistance”, she meant “violent resistance”.

Sultana admitted the hate posts, but added:

“This was written out of frustration rather than any malice”.

The Labour Party has yet to comment on whether Sultana will be deselected.

Labour Party Win Peterborough By-Election

The Labour Party have won the by-election in Peterborough caused by the removal of Fiona Onasanya by a petition of constituents. The new MP is Lisa Forbes, who beat the second placed Mike Greene from the Brexit Party by 683 votes.

Fifteen candidates stood, with the top six being:

Labour Lisa Forbes 10,484 30.9 −17.2
Brexit Mike Greene 9,801 28.9 N/A
Conservative Paul Bristow 7,243 21.4 −25.5
Liberal Democrat Beki Sellick 4,159 12.3 +8.9
Green Joseph Wells 1,035 3.1 +1.3
UKIP John Whitby 400 1.2 N/A

Labour Party Expel Alastair Campbell

The Labour Party has confirmed that it has expelled Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s former head of communications, for admitting that he had voted Liberal Democrat last week in the European elections.

Campbell posted on Twitter in a series of Tweets:

“1. Sad and disappointed to receive email expelling me from @uklabour – particularly on a day leadership finally seems to be moving to the right place on Brexit, not least thanks to tactical voting by party members, including MPs, councillors and peers who back @peoplesvote_uk .

2. I was not intending to publicise this at this stage, but have had calls from friends in the Party telling me it is now widely known and likely to be leaked. I have been advised by lawyers with expertise in this field I have grounds for appeal against expulsion and shall do so

3. I am and always will be Labour. I voted Lib Dem, without advance publicity, to try to persuade Labour to do right thing for country/party. In light of appeal, I won’t be doing media on this. But hard not to point out difference in the way anti-Semitism cases have been handled.

4. Plenty of precedent of members voting for other parties/causes. Some are now senior Party staff. Approach also contrasts with our era when TB was being pressed by whips to withdraw whip for JC and others for persistently voting against @UKLabour in Parliament, and he said No

To all the @UKLabour staff, MPs, peers and councillors who told me they were not voting @UKLabour fear not; as I believe in loyalty to the tribe, your secrets are safe with me”

Owen Smith, the Labour MP for Pontypridd, posted on Twitter:

“So we can’t expel anti-semites or people who openly advocate violence or voting for fringe hard-left rivals, but we can expel @campbellclaret because he voted Lib Dem – like 1000’s of other Labour members and voters last week? What a joke”

Tony Robinson, the television personality, posted:

“Blimey! Labour struggling for years to take disciplinary action against members accused of antisemitism but managed to expel Alstair Campbell for voting Lib Dem over the course of one Bank Holiday weekend. Amazing new efficiency!!”

The Labour Party said in a statement that:

“The support for another political party or candidate is incompatible with party membership”.

Jeremy Corbyn Confirms Labour Will Back a Second Referendum

Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, has confirmed that the Labour Party will now support a second referendum after the party’s alternative Brexit plan was defeated in the House of Commons.

Corbyn, who is thought to have been encouraged to call for the second vote by senior colleagues on the shadow front bench, said:

“We will back a public vote in order to prevent a damaging Tory Brexit or a disastrous no deal outcome. We will also continue to push for the other available options to prevent those outcomes, including a close economic relationship based on our credible alternative plan or a general election.”

Chris Williamson Suspended From Labour Party

Chris Williamson, the Labour MP for Derby North, has been suspended from the party after allegations that he made antisemitic comments. Williamson, who has denied the allegations, will be suspended until investigations are completed.

Tom Watson, the deputy leader of the party, condemned the words used by Williamson, saying:

“Chris Williamson has produced a long-winded and heavily caveated apology. It is not good enough. If it was in my gift I would have removed the whip from him already.”

The Board of Deputies of British Jews also condemned Williamson, saying:

“We reject Chris Williamson’s half-hearted apology, which appears in any case to have been written by someone else.”

Ian Austin MP Resigns From Labour Party

Ian Austin, the MP for Dudley North, has quit the Labour Party and said that he is “ashamed” of the party. Austin has represented the constituency since 2005 and won by a majority of just 22 votes in 2017.

“I grew up listening to my dad, who was a refugee from the Holocaust, teaching me about the evils of hatred and prejudice. One of the main reasons I joined the Labour Party as a teenager here in Dudley more than 35 years ago was to fight racism and I could never have believed I would be leaving the Labour party because of racism too.”

Tom Watson, the party’s deputy leader, said that the news was “a serious blow” to the Labour Party. Austin said that he didn’t intend to join the new Independent Group of 11 MPs, who had left the Conservative and Labour parties, due to a difference of opinion on Brexit.

Joan Ryan Becomes Eighth MP to Join New Independent Group

Joan Ryan, the MP for Enfield North, has quit the Labour Party to join the seven other former MPs from the party to sit as an independent group.

Ryan announced her decision on Twitter, saying:

“After 4 decades, I have made the terribly difficult decision to resign from the Labour Party. It is the greatest honour of my life to represent the people of #EnfieldNorth. I will continue to represent and speak up for them as a member of the @TheIndGroup of MPs #ChangePolitics”

Seven Labour MPs Quit Party Over Brexit and Anti-Semitism

Seven Labour MPs have quit the party mentioning the leadership’s lack of support for remaining in the European Union and for not tackling anti-semitism. The MPs will sit as independents and are Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Mike Gapes, Gavin Shuker and Ann Coffey.

Disgraced Peterborough MP Expelled From Labour Party

Fiona Onasanya, the disgraced MP for Peterborough who was found guilty of perverting the course of justice, has been expelled from the Labour Party. Onasanya, who has so far refused to stand down, was said by the party to have “failed” to serve her constituents.

Ian Lavery, the Chairman of the Labour Party, said to the Peterborough Telegraph:

“You voted for a Labour party person. Unfortunately the people of Peterborough were failed. We want a Labour party MP here who will do the people of Peterborough a great service”.

Lavery confirmed that Labour would support attempts to displace the MP by using new powers of recall if she didn’t receive a prison sentence of more than one year, which would automatically lead to Onasanya being expelled from the House of Commons.