Written by Jacob Jaffa |
In a move highlighting the growing rift within the Labour Party, Tom Watson has this week, taken a verbal swipe at one of Jeremy Corbyn’s most trusted aides.
The deputy Labour leader, tipped as a potential successor to Corbyn in the event of a resurgence of the party’s moderate wing, branded the remarks made by Andrew Murray, a close advisor of Corbyn and Unite leader Len McCluskey, as potential “fake news”. Watson’s comments were in reference to Murray’s recent article in the New Statesman in which he claimed that there was “possibly someone being paid” in the so-called ‘Deep State’ to prevent Labour coming to power.
While criticisms of the civil service are often made by both Labour and the Conservatives, Mr Murray’s claims were the first in recent memory to suggest a conspiracy by the intelligence services to keep a major party out of government. In response Mr Watson suggested that the former Communist Party member’s accusations were “a bit John le Carré”, the pseudonym of acclaimed spy novelist David Cornwell. He further suggested that Mr Murray should elaborate upon his claims, and that if he failed to provide evidence for his accusation then “it’s just fake news”.
“While criticisms of the civil service are often made by both Labour and the Conservatives, Mr Murray’s claims were the first in recent memory to suggest a conspiracy by the intelligence services to keep a major party out of government.”
Mr Watson’s comments came just three days ahead of the Labour Party conference, at which he relinquished his speaking slot due to a timing conflict with the leader’s office. Mr Watson felt that he was unduly given a poor slot, while Mr Corbyn, along with Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, have been given prime time.
This incident only serves to contribute to the divided image of the Labour Party as it reaches a critical point in its ideological shift to the left. With a number of controversial motions proposed at the conference, including proposals to increase the power of the membership and make it easier for local parties to deselect their MPs; a move often criticised as an attempt to purge opponents of Mr Corbyn from the party.
“This incident only serves to contribute to divided image of the Labour Party as it reaches a critical point in its ideological shift to the left.”
The Labour Party conference takes place from Sunday the 23rd September until Wednesday the 26th September in Liverpool.