Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson wants to make it easier for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to be overthrown in a coup.
Speaking to Sky News’ Murnaghan show on Sunday, Watson said that Corbyn’s supporters should stop trying to change the party’s rules to make it harder for someone to mount a successful leadership challenge against him. Watson said that changing the rules would create “uncertainty and insecurity.”
Last Tuesday, Peter Willsman, a Corbyn ally who sits on Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) put forward a draft motion to guarantee that any Labour leader who receives a challenge will be given a place on the ballot. This is really important because Corbyn is still very popular with members and voting-eligible supporters of the Labour party. Corbyn supporters believe that Corbyn will win any vote that is put to the membership.
Corbyn’s opponents believe this to, which is why there are so many rumours at the moment that a coup against Corbyn will be mounted before the rules can be changed. The rules aren’t quite clear, but basically, as things stand, lots of people think that Corbyn will need 15% of Labour MPs to nominate him to just to get on the ballot in order to fight off a leadership challenge. As things stand, it looks very unlikely that Corbyn could get that sort of support.
That is why Watson’s comments on the Murnaghan show are so interesting. Here’s what he said in a bit more detail:
“Those rules have stood the test of time and I think if you’ve got one political faction that are trying to change the rules in the way they’re doing, it does create uncertainty and insecurity amongst a lot of people.”
Watson is claiming that he doesn’t like the move to change the rules because it’s creating uncertainty, but despite the ulterior motives of the people who are proposing the rule change it does kind of make sense. There is already uncertainty over whether Corbyn would be allowed on the ballot and a rule change would put an end to that.
Watson did also say that party’s membership does not want a leadership challenger just nine months after he and Corbyn were elected, but it’s worth noting that bookmakers have Watson at 9/1 to replace Corbyn as Labour’s leader.
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