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Watson's condemned for courting with Swinson, ‘a loyal adherent of austerity’

TOM WATSON’s collaboration with Jo Swinson has been condemned by a member of Labour’s national executive committee (NEC) as a show of support for austerity.

The deputy Labour leader held a meeting with the Liberal Democrat leader last night to discuss how to stop a no-deal Brexit.

Mr Watson said Labour would be “stronger together” by co-operating with the Lib Dems in this capacity — despite Ms Swinson having already ruled out working with Jeremy Corbyn.

She has previously hit out at Mr Corbyn by saying that there was “nothing to suggest” he could be trusted on Brexit and that there would be no pact between the two parties while he remains Labour leader.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said earlier this month that Labour would work to stop a no-deal Brexit and “go back to the country” with another referendum should Mr Corbyn take the helm of a “caretaker government” following the ousting of Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Mr Watson first suggested collaborating with Ms Swinson when he sent a tweet congratulating her on winning the Lib Dem leadership contest last month.

He said of their meeting this week: “Whether you’re Liberal Democrats, social democrats or democratic socialists, we are all democrats.”

Ms Swinson consistently voted with the Tories on cuts to benefits — including for people who have long-term disabilities and illnesses — establishing the bedroom tax and against raising taxes for banks and individuals that earn more than £150,000 a year.

Labour NEC youth representative Lara McNeill told the Morning Star: “From the timing of Tom Watson’s meeting with Jo Swinson, it seems that he is supporting her claims to be a break with the old politics.

“But this couldn’t be further from the truth.

“Tom is politically courting a loyal adherent of austerity who happily voted through some of the policies which have led to misery, disaster and even death for scores of decent people.

“Despite Labour’s disagreements over how best to handle Brexit, the political record of Jo Swinson and the Liberal Democrats should not be overlooked by Labour politicians and we should be united against austerity for the coming general election.”

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