Tom Watson finally snaps as Jeremy Corbyn aide goes a bit John le Carré
The Labour deputy leader had a more Corbynite position on Starbucks.
In recent years, former Labour bruiser Tom Watson has done his best to avoid explicitly criticising leading Corbynites, despite his obvious unease with the leadership.
But even the newly-slimline and super-chilled deputy Labour leader has limits, it seems.
Writing in the New Statesman, top Corbyn aide Andrew Murray suggested that the intelligence services could be working to stop a Labour government from being elected.
Citing examples such as a Mail on Sunday article saying he had been banned from entering Ukraine and a long delay for him to be cleared for a parliamentary pass, he wondered “the deep state” was involved.
He went on: “Someone else is doing the hard work – possibly someone being paid by the taxpayer,” he wrote. “I doubt if their job description is preventing the election of a Corbyn government, but who knows?”
Asked about the claims on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Watson gave them short shift.
He said: “I think it’s highly unlikely, but I don’t know. I read that piece. I thought it was a bit John le Carré. But I don’t know where his evidence is for that….
“It does seem to me that if he thinks that the intelligence services are in some way trying to undermine the official opposition then he should provide evidence, because otherwise it’s just fake news, isn’t it?”
And Home Office minister Ben Wallace had a more abrasive response.
Meanwhile Watson continued his morning media round by appearing on Jeremy Vine’s Channel 5 show – and making a strong bid to win back any Corbynite supporters he might have alienated a couple of hours earlier.
“I wouldn't drink Starbucks because it's about time they paid their taxes,” he boldy declared.