Labour ruling body in bid to oust deputy leader Tom Watson

20 September 2019, 22:33

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson
Labour deputy leader Tom Watson. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

The Labour party's ruling body is considering a move to abolish the post of deputy leader.

On the first day of the party's conference, the National Executive Committee will examine the issue after Momentum’s Jon Lansman tabled a motion to remove the role.

Current deputy leader Tom Watson has publicly clashed with Jeremy Corbyn on a number of occasions.

He recently called for a new Brexit referendum to be held before a general election.

Former Labour leader Ed Miliband hit out at those responsible for the move, he suggested they had taken" leave of their senses."

Labour's NEC is to consider abolishing the post of deputy party leader on Saturday after a bid to get rid of the post failed at a meeting on Friday.

Labour MP Wes Streeting described the move as "self-destructive"

A Momentum source said: “No one person is more important than beating Boris Johnson, ending austerity and tackling the climate emergency. We just can’t afford to go into an election with a deputy leader set on wrecking Labour’s chances.

“Labour members overwhelmingly want a deputy leadership election, but our outdated rulebook won’t let it happen.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.”

Sky News Political Correspondent Lewis Goodall was messaged by one Labour MP who said "think the Labour Party is about to split," with some commentators suggesting the message be a ruse to help unite the party.

Mr Watson has been a vocal critic of Jeremy Corbyn
Mr Watson has been a vocal critic of Jeremy Corbyn. Picture: PA

The NEC is responsible for overseeing the overall direction of the party and the policy-making process.

The Labour Party conference starts on Saturday in Brighton.