You can read 9 more articles this month
UNION leaders hit back at Tom Watson today for calling for delaying an election to hold a second referendum on the EU.
The deputy Labour leader attacked the party’s official stance — that a general election should come first — by saying a second referendum should be called beforehand and Labour should be “unequivocally Remain” in such a vote. His own West Bromwich East constituency voted 68 per cent to Leave in 2016.
“A general election could fail to solve Brexit chaos,” he said.
His comments echo the interventions of former Labour PM Tory Blair, who has called for a second referendum while urging against a general election.
In a withering retort, Unite leader Len McCluskey said Mr Watson’s views “don’t really matter” and that “he pops up now and again” to undermine Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn but that “fewer and fewer people listen to him.”
GMB general secretary Tim Roache said that Mr Watson’s intervention was “wholly unwelcome” and “disappointing.”
He also did not rule out the union backing a different candidate for Mr Watson’s position as deputy Labour leader.
Mr Roache added: “We are heading into a general election and we welcome a general election, bring it on.
“But no-one is going to vote for a divided party. If anyone steps out of line thinking for their own needs and own gains it’s wholly unwelcome — and will be opposed by the GMB.”
Communication Workers Union general secretary Dave Ward said: “If Tom Watson is so keen to delay an election perhaps he should delay his own and not bother standing as a Labour MP.”
Sarah Cundy of socialist pro-Brexit group Leave Fight Transform said Mr Watson’s election-phobia showed he “doesn’t give a toss” about working-class people.
She said: “No matter how far the Labour Party concede to the right on Brexit, Blairites will continue to use every opportunity to criticise and undermine the left leadership.
“Mr Watson’s comments are the most recent in a long line of attempts to do so.
“They show that he doesn’t give a toss about the state of working class lives. That he’d rather have the Tories in power than the party he’s supposed to represent.
“We knew what we were voting for in 2016. Patronising rhetoric and implications that the working class were too stupid to understand what was going on are a disgusting insult.
“They shouldn’t be tolerated, let alone promoted, by a Labour Party in left control.
“We don’t need a second referendum, we need a general election with Labour standing on a ticket of leaving the EU, respecting democracy, and implementing radical socialist policies.
“And we need that, preferably, with a new prospective parliamentary candidate for Labour in West Bromwich East.”
Mr Corbyn responded to his deputy’s intervention saying: “It’s Tom’s view and I don’t accept it and I don’t agree with it.”
Labour MP Gareth Snell said the numbers “simply do not exist in Parliament for a referendum,” adding the public had “no appetite” for a second EU poll.
In his TUC conference speech on Tuesday, Mr Corbyn said that if he became Prime Minister he would offer a referendum with a “credible Leave option” negotiated by Labour as well as Remain.
He also said that his priority is for an election as soon as Parliament has blocked the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.