Tom Watson shows his workings as row with Jeremy Corbyn rumbles on

Written by David Singleton on 15 August 2016 in Diary
Diary

Labour's deputy leader turns his attention to socialist group that wants members to 'intervene' in Labour.

Labour’s deputy leader has escalated his row with the leader - by pointing to three documents on the website of the Alliance for Workers Liberty.

Tom Watson hit back after Jeremy Corbyn accused him of talking “nonsense” about a hard left infiltration of the party.

Watson then posted a statement on Facebook on Sunday afternoon to make his case.

“In recent days an increasing number of people have made the false claim that I labelled all our new joiners as 'trotskyists'. This is not true,” he said.

“The quote ‘old hands twist young arms’ derives from an interview I did with the Guardian where I raised concerns that trotskyist organisations were targeting our young members. Incidentally, I also raised the issue of returning to shadow cabinet elections - which in my view is imperative whoever wins the leadership. It's probably the only way a front bench can be reassembled and united.

“My claim about groups like the Alliance for Workers Liberty is evidenced with publicly available information, if people care to look. Some might not like me saying these things but I'm not making this stuff up, as others have claimed.”

It comes after Corbyn used an interview with The Observer to rubbish his deputy’s suggestions.

"I just ask Tom to do the maths: 300,000 people have joined the Labour party – at no stage in anyone’s most vivid imagination are there 300,000 sectarian extremists at large in the country who have suddenly descended on the Labour party," Corbyn said.

"Sorry Tom, it is nonsense – and I think he knows it’s nonsense. Let’s get on with campaigning, Tom. Thanks."

On his Facebook page, Watson pointed to three documents posted on the website of the AWL.

Watson stated: “These three documents outline a concerted strategy for members of the AWL to infiltrate (or, to use the language of the documents, ‘intervene’) in the Labour Party’ with the explicit intention of influencing the party to indoctrinate ‘more people of revolutionary socialist ideas,’ ‘advance and transform the wider labour movement’ and to focus ‘on drawing in, organising, propagandising among, and recruiting among, the new people (especially the new young people) mobilised by the Corbyn surge.”

The AWL has hit back at Watson, claiming that he is desperate to have Corbyn defeated in Labour’s leadership election and accusing him of “low cunning” to try and make it happen.

In a blogpost, the AWL’s Cathy Nugent added: “We want to help Corbyn remake the Labour Party as a party that fights for the interests of the working class. …“What does all this shrill noise from Watson prove? Only that Workers’ Liberty says what we think as loudly and clearly as is possible. That the AWL advocates class struggle socialism. Yes, we are guilty of that.”

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