Thursday, September 13, 2012

Tom Watson Quits Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee

After rehabilitating himself from a Blair-stabbing, expenses-hoarding Brownite boot-boy to the scourge of the Murdochs, Tom Watson has quit the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee.

Leading the way on phone-hacking, and getting a nice book deal out the it too, Watson was promoted to deputy party chairman of the Labour Party in October 2011. Controversially Watson has spent a year breaking the convention that Select Committees are made up of backbenchers.

As Guido covered at the time Watson over-reached on more than one occasion on the job and there were sighs of relief from those around the committee that Guido has been talking with today. Though a Labour source says:

“I am tempted to say it’s not the same since Louise Mensch left, but in reality he said when he joined shadow cabinet he would leave at suitable point when hacking inquiries are finished and with Leveson evidence finished and report a few weeks away he thought it was suitable time.”

With Therese Coffey and Damien Collins being promoted, and Mrs Mensh departing these shores, it’s all change at CMS.

Monday, September 10, 2012

DJ Watson Spins Leveson

Touchy Tom Watson tends to get testy when people bring up his links with the lefties Political Scrapbook. He pointedly told the Leveson Inquiry that he had nothing to do with them, which was news to some:

Watson:“I know the guy, the young guy that runs it. I have no relationship with it in terms of management or anything else.”

Jay: “Have you provided information to them for their use?”

Watson: “No.”

Watson would have us believe there is no cosy relationship here, despite obviously feeding them stories. Fellow Labour MP Kerry McCarthy let the cat out of the bag this weekend though when she revealed Scrapbook‘s special guest for their Labour party conference shindig:

Hmm, surely that comes under “or anything else”.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ashcroft Unravels Watson Spin

Last week Guido revealed how Corby’s latest resident Tom Watson was instructing Labour spinners to brief that the party expects to lose the upcoming by-election. At the time the Lobby could see straight through Tommo’s tricks:

Now the latest polling undertaken by Lord Ashcroft has confirmed that Watson was spouting rubbish. Labour have a huge 15 point lead in the up-for-grabs Northamptonshire seat, with a 9% swing from Blue to Red. UK Polling Report conclude: “Labour shouldn’t have any particular problem taking the seat“. It’s an open goal that they simply cannot miss…

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Labour Corby Campaign Cock-Up

Last week Guido revealed that Labour campaign chief Tom Watson had been busy massing the troops in Corby as party bosses seek to avoid a repeat of their Bradford nightmare. Watson might have dragged half of Labour HQ’s staff with him to Louise Mensch’s old constituency but their plan to hit the ground running has got off to a slow start. Back on the 9th August a helpful tweeter alerted Labour’s holidaying hopeful Andy Sawford to the fact that he had yet to set up a website for his campaign. Sawford promised he would get on the case:

https://twitter.com/AndySawford/status/233660830380601344

Almost a week later Labour have sent out a press release encouraging constituents to visit their candidate’s brand new website, but when they do this is what they find:

Guido wonders what Watson and co have been up to the past six days…

Friday, August 10, 2012

Bradford Routing Haunts Labour –
Watson Amassing Troops in Corby

The joke doing the rounds this morning in Labour circles is:

“Rupert Murdoch has three months to take out the trash. If he wanted to kill someone he could probably get away with it. Tom is now so obsessed with Corby he thinks it’s Ed’s Crewe.”

Labour sources tell Guido that they are determined not to see a repeat of their Bradford by-election shambles. Former Brownite boot-boys Watson and Ian Austin are off to Louise Mensch’s old constituency, along with half the party staff. They’ve despatched a team to find a decent office as at the moment they are working from the Labour Club. Gordon Paterson, former Labour Yorkshire organiser, is in charge of field operations at the moment and will probably be the agent. Labour confirmed to Guido last night that leave has already been cancelled. Dozens of HQ staff have been told they have to go up there full time.

Political advisers and the policy team are rather grumpy because they are being told there will be daily mini-buses from London and that they are all expected to be on them. Ed has also told staff in the leader’s office that he wants them up there: “some of them don’t mind to be honest because nice to be out of office but others moaning.” One insider even says there has been talk of conference being scaled back. General Secretary Iain McNicol has apparently told staff that Corby is the single biggest party priority now until November. Everything else is now secondary, including Police Commissioner elections. 

Gone is the complacency of Bradford and it’s all hands to the deck. Obviously that is not what they are saying publicly though – as Guido revealed last night – the line is “we’re not going to win”.

Thankfully the candidate has deigned to cut short his south of France holiday and is out on the stump.

Better late than never…

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Watson Tells Labour Spinners to Brief That They Will Lose Corby

As Ed spends the afternoon in Corby – the front-line of Tory/Labour fighting in the next three months – Guido hears that Tom Watson is already playing the long game. The party campaign director has told Labour Political Advisers to stress that the party expects to lose the by-election in every conversation they have with the lobby. Speaking to Labour sources this afternoon it is clear that Labour’s routing in Bradford still haunts the party. The expectations game has begun and it’s all hands to the deck – full details in the morning.

Flashback: “Mudslingers: the 25 Dirtiest Political Campaigns” Watson’s Favourite Book

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Labour General Secretary Breaks Strike Ranks With Leadership

Labour’s neutered General Secretary Iain McNicol seems to be breaking ranks from the party leadership and backing strikes. Yesterday he promised the GMB conference that Labour will be out on the streets in support of the next demonstration. The next planned action is the Unite bus drivers strikes during the Games. Yet Ed said any strike over the Olympic period would be “unacceptable and wrong”…

According to today’s Morning Star Tom Watson received a jubilant standing ovation from hundreds of delegates for his war on the press. He told them that “there have been some dark and very lonely nights since News International started coming for me”. The best ones write themselves…

UPDATE: Labour sources get in touch to point out that McNicol was referring to a TUC day of action in autumn.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Tommy’s Touch

When he gave evidence to Leveson back in May Tom Watson swore, on oath, that he had nothing to do with lefty blog Political Scrapbook. Guido was particularly interested in Tom’s denial that he had ever passed a story onto the Scrapbook team:

Watson: “I know the guy, the young guy that runs it. I have no relationship with it in terms of management or anything else.”

Jay: “Have you provided information to them for their use?”

Watson: “No.”

Guido quickly pointed out that this was nonsense. This morning Watson tweeted about a chapter that Jubilee stewarding boss Molly Prince wrote for Robin Barratt’s book Bouncers and Bodyguards, highlighting her past indiscretions:

A few minutes later Scrapbook posted quotes from the book, of which Watson clearly has a copy. Guido is sure this is nothing more than a happy coincidence…

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Ed Should Listen to Watson More

Click to Play

Not a sentence headline we would normally use, but it would appear the Labour leader is frit. Ever since Neo-Guido asked Ed at a press conference whether he preferred the NHS or football, operational press releases and invitations to speeches immediately dried up. The BBC picked up the question after Ed missed an NHS rally and instead went to a football match with one of his donors, so while cheeky, it could hardly be described as unfair. Even Cameron has the Morning Star and Mirror to his pressers…

Back in the leadership election Tom Watson organised a hustings for candidates. Writing in the Guardian about it, he said Guido would probably try attend but “if you can’t deal with him in a public meeting, you don’t deserve to be Labour leader.” Wise words there…

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tommo’s Travels

Guido just interjected in a discussion between the publicity shy Mensch and Watson:

Tommo has now retreated from the argument…


Seen Elsewhere

How Avoidable Scandals Destroy Stupid Politicians | Alex Wickham
UKIP Mosque Confusion | The Week
Let’s Ban the Word Internet | Padraig Reidy
Are the Broadcasters Ready For the Election? | Specccie
Moral Bankruptcy of the BBC | David Keighley
UKIP’s ‘Starsky and Hutch’ | Total Politics
Innocent Sun Journo Just Doing Her Job | Sun
Boris Sent Up North | Times
The Only Way to Mend the EU | Leo McKinstry
Northern Labour Tearing Party Apart | David Aaronovitch
Osborne is Son of Brown | Peter Oborne


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Tony Blair threatens Ed:

“If you had a strong political lead that was combining the politics of aspiration with the politics of compassion, I still think that’s where you could get a substantial majority…  If I ever do an interview on [the state of the Labour Party], it will have to be at length…”



Left on Left says:

The lefties are attacking because the panellist is a millionaire and lives in a London home worth upwards of two million. Someone had best tell them he’s called Ed Miliband.


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