LONDON — Tom Watson apologised to an activist as Jeremy Corbyn’s success became clear after his campaign team had “seemed to hate Jeremy” in the run up to the election.
The Labour deputy leader made the remarks to Clare Coogan Cole, comedian Steve Coogan’s daughter, he revealed in an interview with The New European newspaper.
Coogan Cole worked in Watson’s office while studying, and was vocally pro-Corbyn while others in the office made it clear they were not.
Coogan said: “Clare was campaigning for Tom Watson in the Midlands, and she kept ringing me to complain. She was upset because of the way people in the campaign were behaving.”
“There were only two people who were pro-Corbyn in the whole campaign team. Others seemed to hate Jeremy and they were saying scornful things,” said the comedian, most famous for playing fictional broadcaster Alan Partridge.
Watson has previously warned of a “hard-left plan” to take control of Labour by the Corbyn-supporting grassroots group Momentum and is seen to belong to the soft left of the party, which has challenged Corbyn in the past.
Coogan said: “There were only two people who were pro-Corbyn in the whole campaign team. Others seemed to hate Jeremy Corbyn… As the election results came in, she saw her loyalty and determination had paid off.
“They were expecting loads of seats to be lost, and then the exit poll came in, and the faces of the anti-Corbyn brigade were the epitome of mixed feelings.
“The best part of the whole campaign for her was that Tom Watson was just about to go off to do his speech at his own constituency count.
“In front of all the other campaigners, he turned and saw that Clare was smiling. He stopped. He made everyone listen and said: ‘Clare, I just want to say, you were right and everyone else was wrong’.”
In the wide-ranging interview, Coogan also said that Alan Partridge would have backed Brexit.
He said: “Alan would have voted Brexit for sure. Hard Brexit, given the choice… He’s a Brexiteer because the Daily Mail told him to be.”