Rival Labour MPs Chris Leslie and Chris Williamson finally share a studio

Written by David Singleton on 19 June 2018 in Diary

Watch: The rivals went head-to-head over four rounds on the BBC's Daily Politics.

The Labour party has long prided itself on being a broad church. But when marked moderate Chris Leslie and vocal left winger Chris Williamson get together, it can look more like the set for a middle-class version of Fight Club.

The last time that Daily Politics united the warring Labour MPs, Williamson was shown on a screen considering whether Leslie was “part of a dismal chorus of MPs who continue to smear Jeremy Corbyn”.

Back in the BBC studio, Leslie told his comrade: “I will not be intimidated or threatened, you can raise that spectre of deselection as many times as you like.”

Four months later the pair have been at it again – and this time they even shared the same studio.

During a discussion about the centre ground, it was Williamson who threw the first punch when he suggested that his opponent was on the wrong side of the dividing line between "responsible politics and populism".

Williamson then responded with one of his favourite rebuttals: "I think Chris is living in the past. We’ve moved on from 1997…. People, according to polling, have a lot more affinity with socialism and are very sceptical actually about capitalism."





In round two, Williamson appeared to deliver a cheeky low blow that many spectators may have missed. He stated: "With all great… disrespect to Chris and some of my colleagues, they are confusing the electorate."

To Leslie’s evident amusement, Williamson continued: "Chris you should just get on board. Get on board with the agenda that Jeremy set out."





In round three, Leslie landed his first clear blow when he claimed that under the current leadership "you’re not allowed to have different thoughts or attitudes". The moderate MP then went for the jugular with a classic Blairite move that was guarenteed to leave his opponent shaken:

"Remember the days when we actually won elections Chris?"





In round four, Leslie tried to pin down his opponent by asking: "Are you a Marxist?"

But in an unexpected response, Williamson refused to fight back with a pro-Marxist sentiment. Instead, he declared himself an advocate of "plain common-sense socialism".

And then referee Jo Coburn called time out.









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