Man Who Wrote Watson’s Legal Advice Gave Interview to Sputnik Praising “Brilliant” Work of Assange Lawyers

The man who wrote Tom Watson’s legal advice on Syria gave an interview earlier this year to the Kremlin mouthpiece Sputnik praising the “brilliant” work of Julian Assange’s lawyers. Watson commissioned Oxford University professor Dr Dapo Akande to provide him with advice on the legality of the British strikes in Syria over the weekend. The advice, published this morning, suggested the strikes were against international law. Akande has been offering his view that humanitarian intervention in Syria is illegal since 2013. Guido is more interested in his interview with Sputnik earlier this year, in which Akande outlined how Ecuador could take the UK to the International Court of Justice over Assange and how they could give him diplomatic status. Akande gave Sputnik this effusive praise for Assange’s legal team:

“This latest move is actually an excellent move. I think it was a brilliant idea by the team to try and find a way. I don’t know whether it will be successful but it is about the best way of trying to advance his case and cause.”

Sputnik certainly enjoy Dr Akande’s work…

Watson Wrongly Claims Corbyn Apologised for Anti-Semitic Mural Comments

Tom Watson was wrong to claim Jeremy Corbyn has apologised for his anti-Semitic mural comments. Confronted with the image on Marr this morning, an uncomfortable Watson claimed Jezza has apologised for defending the mural in a Facebook post:

“That is why Jeremy has expressed deep regret and apologised for that and actually said it was right the mural was taken down.”

Actually Corbyn refused to apologise for his comment, saying he only regreted not “looking more closely” at the mural – that statement caused outrage in the PLP this weekend precisely because it stopped short of an apology. Watson clearly wishes Corbyn would just say sorry…

Rich’s Monday Morning View

McDonnell: Watson Should Reconsider Taking Mosley Cash

John McDonnell said Tom Watson “should consider his relationship” with Max Mosley and raised questions over the propriety of the Labour Deputy Leader accepting £500,000 in donations from the disgraced F1 chief. McDonnell said:

“Tom will really need to consider seriously exactly that relationship with Max Mosley and the finances as well because if he is reiterating his views from the past he clearly hasn’t changed.”

McDonnell was reacting to a Guardian interview published yesterday in which Mosley repeated his support for paying migrants to “go home”. Both McDonnell and Corbyn’s offices are wary of Watson’s set-up, which, as Guido reported, has a staff of nine and is seen as a rival power centre. Corbynistas have enjoyed Watson’s pain over the past week…

Watson Only Senior Labour Figure to Publicly Stand By Mosley

Tom Watson backed Max Mosley in the Commons earlier, making him the only Labour figure to continue to support the disgraced former fascist:

“If I thought for one moment he held those views contained in that leaflet 57 years ago, I would not have given him the time of day. He is a man though, who in the face of great family tragedy and overwhelming media intimidation, chose to use his limited resources to support the weak against the strong.”

As Guido noted yesterday, Watson is ignoring Mosley’s continuing dodgy views, including his insistence to Cathy Newman this week that he still believes infamous racist and fascist Walter Hesketh is a “very decent person”. Imagine what Watson would be saying if this was a Tory, or indeed anyone who hadn’t given him half a million quid.

Mosley Funds Watson’s Huge Private Office Power Base

Why won’t Tom Watson hand back the half a million quid given to him by Max Mosley, despite Labour appearing to accept he isn’t a fit and proper donor? Well, Watson uses the money to fund his private office, which at nine full time staff members is the third largest in parliament. According to the Register of Secretaries and Research Assistants, Corbyn and McDonnell are the only MPs with more staff. Watson’s office has become a significant power base and giving the money back would weaken him considerably. That’s why Seumas Milne twisted the knife into Watson with his statement ditching Mosley earlier…

If this was a £5,000 donation rather than £500,000, there seems little question that he would give the money back. Watson faced with the choice: do the right thing and hand back the cash, or keep his bumper private office bankrolled by a former fascist…

Labour Won’t Take Further Mosley Donations But Watson Will Keep His £500,000

Labour say they will no longer accept donations from Max Mosley, but will keep the £500,000 he gave to Tom Watson. ‬Eh? How does that work? Either he’s not a fit and proper donor or he is – how can Watson keep his cash?

Watson Backs Mosley

Tom Watson has backed Max Mosley and hinted he will continue to accept money from the former fascist, telling the Mail: “The views expressed by Max as a young man are not the views he holds now, just as the Rothermere family no longer uses its newspapers to support fascism”. You know you’re in trouble when you’re reaching for the tired Rothermere line like some tedious Twitter troll…

Let’s have a look at Watson’s claim that Mosley no longer holds dodgy views. Asked by Cathy Newman whether he still believes “coloured immigrants” should be repatriated, Mosley said that is “now completely academic” and “no longer a possible question”.

Asked if it was racist to say immigrants bring diseases to Britain, Mosley replied to Cathy: “I don’t know about racist”.

Asked if he thought he should say sorry, Mosley snapped: “I’ve no reason to apologise to anyone”.

Mosley then went on to defend the fascist Walter Hesketh, telling Cathy he was “a very decent person as far as I was concerned, I thought he was then and I think he is now”. Hesketh is on record saying: “If enough people vote for me… the government will be sending coloured immigrants home” and “To stop coloured immigration, vote Hesketh”. Mosley says he still thinks Hesketh is a “very decent person” now…

This all makes a mockery of Watson’s claim that Mosley’s views have changed and it is now somehow acceptable to take his cash. If a Tory had £500,000 off a former fascist who clearly still holds problematic views then Watson and Labour would be screaming the house down. Labour’s deputy leader is happy to take half a million quid from a former fascist who still thinks out-and-out racist Walter Hesketh was a “very decent person”…

Watson Now Opposes Airing Lurid Historic Claims Against MPs

Tom Watson is very upset with the idea that anyone would air lurid, unsubstantiated, historic allegations against MPs. He writes this morning:

 “Unfortunately for these newspapers, the years of slurs, of stretching the truth to breaking point, of completely one-sided reporting may be creeping up on them. They do not wield the power they once did, their circulations are falling and people simply don’t trust them anymore.”

Guido is old enough to remember when Watson called Leon Brittan “evil” in front of a House of Commons Select Committee and had to apologise to Brittan’s widow when the paedophile claims turned out to be fantasy. He has some brass neck.

Why No Media Plurality Worries Over Mirror-Express Merger?

The usual suspects who raise a hue and cry about media plurality seem strangely silent about the Mirror – Express merger. Print sector media plurality is being dramatically reduced from four major media groups to 3 plus the also rans. The new group will have about a quarter market share of the UK dead tree press. As the print market withers it is turning oligopolistic…

Tom Watson is silent, the usual gobby ‘media plurality’ campaigners are also mute. The Guardian isn’t going on about the hackers at the Mirror not being fit and proper to take over the Express. There are genuine public interest concerns; plurality is being reduced and the distinctive political voice of the Express is being put at risk. Are plurality concerns only applicable to Rupert Murdoch?

Tom Watson “Ignoring” Labour Corruption on His Doorstep

There’s more than a little local trouble in Tom Watson’s backyard as allegations of serious malfeasance at Labour controlled Sandwell Council continue to mount up. Sandwell, which partially lies in Watson’s West Bromwich East constituency, is rapidly gaining notoriety as one of England’s most rotten boroughs, with multiple allegations of misconduct in public office. It has been reported in the local papers that:

  • A Labour councillor, Mahboob Hussain, sold off council-owned public toilets valued at £130,000 to a family friend for £35,000. It is also alleged he cancelled parking tickets for family members and was involved in bullying. Councillor Hussain denies these allegations.
  • Another Labour councillor, Mohammad Rouf, received a council house even though he had just sold a house for £125,000. Sandwell Council spent £200,000 on the demolition of eight terraced houses and the clearing of the site, only for that to be purchased by Councillor Rouf’s son for £65,000. He was then granted planning permission for a seven-bedroom house, where Councillor Rouf now reportedly lives.
  • Former Councillor Derek Rowley allegedly sold council-owned property for his own benefit and charged the council for marquee hire from his personal business.
  • Another investigation found potential collusion and fraudulent practice in public office over the sale of land to two Labour councillors.
  • That Labour councillors attempted to suppress a damning report into misconduct, the Wragge Report, which cost taxpayers £185,000. Despite the report finally being published in May 2016, the council’s standards committee only acknowledged it this month. 

Meanwhile, the council’s critical services are failing, not least the Children’s Services department which has had a string of dire Ofsted inspections. The situation is so bad that Tory MP James Morris brought an adjournment debate on the topic last week. Morris said of Watson:

“One of my fellow Sandwell MPs, the hon. Member for West Bromwich East (Tom Watson)—who is not in the Chamber—is, of course, the deputy leader of the Labour party. Right on his very doorstep, there are allegations of fraud, misconduct in public office, sexism and bullying, and he has hardly breathed a word. Of all the people who would be able to step in, call a halt to the reign of some of these councillors and ensure that allegations are investigated properly, he would be the one. I think that the hon. Member for West Bromwich East has some questions to answer about why he has remained so quiet.”

Watson is usually very vocal about outrageous misconduct from public officials. Why so quiet this time?

Watson Says Second Referendum Possible An Hour After Diane Rules It Out

Jeremy Corbyn, three weeks ago: Doesn’t rule out second referendum

Diane Abbott, two weeks ago: Backs second referendum

Diane Abbott, today: Rules out second referendum

Tom Watson, today: Doesn’t rule out second referendum

Got that?

Murdoch’s De-Risked With Disney

Tom Watson can barely contain himself: “This is the end of an era for the Murdochs who after decades of aggressive empire expansion are now in retreat.” The left is celebrating because their blood enemy of half-a-century is “in retreat”. If it is a retreat then it is a luxurious one. Disney is paying $52 billion for the Fox assets Murdoch is selling, which includes Sky in the UK. It pleases Rupert’s legion of enemies that he has lost the battle for total control of Sky…

As some of the more sober analysis on the business pages has noted, Fox stock is up 30% since the bid speculation started; Murdoch is selling at the top. Disney is gearing up for a streaming war with Netflix, Amazon and Apple. Content libraries are the key weapon in that war. Fox is getting a full premium for that treasure without the risk of becoming a casualty. Rupert could again – as he was at the dawn of satellite television – be ahead of the game. The billions in profits generated by Sky may dazzle investors now; those with more vision can see that the future of universal fast broadband and the shift to mobile means this tsunami of subscription revenue could recede very quickly. The Pay TV assets Murdoch has sold to Disney could never have it better…

Murdoch still has control of Fox News, the most lucrative news channel on earth. He still has News Corp’s newspapers around the world and a big chunk of Mickey Mouse’s stock. Fox also now has billions in cash and cash flow with which to make Murdoch’s next move…

UPDATE: Murdoch tells Maria Bartiromo that he wants to be out of entertainment and in real-time news:

Watson’s Capitulation

It’s hard to over-estimate the level of opprobrium Tom Watson generated by singing “Oh Jeremy Corbyn” on the conference stage yesterday. Last night Labour moderates shared this viral BBC clip in disbelief that a man who railed against Momentum entryism and helped orchestrate the failed coup against Jez could, like a captured prisoner in a hostage video, sing the anthem of those he once opposed. Even Corbyn looked embarrassed. The main takeaway from this year’s conference is the pathetic capitulation of Labour centrists who just a few months ago were telling us Corbyn isn’t fit to be PM…

Barry Gardiner: Watson Not Up to Explaining Single Market Late at Night

Intriguing choice of words by Barry Gardiner on Westminster Hour, suggesting that Tom Watson got Labour’s position on the single market wrong because it was a “late night interview”. What’s he implying about the famously fun-loving Labour deputy leader?

Watson: Labour Could Keep UK in Single Market and Customs Union Permanently

Tom Watson confirms Labour could keep Britain in the single market and customs union permanently and admits Labour is the party of “soft Brexit”. Soft Brexit is a term only used by Remainers, staying in the single market and customs union is not taking back control of borders and trade, it is for all intents and purposes staying in the EU.

It was obvious Labour Remainers were seeking a permanent transition which keeps us in all the institutions of the EU, Watson has confirmed Labour would ignore much of their Leave-voting base…

Glaston-free: Labour’s Headline Acts Showered with Freebie Tickets

Turns out Jezza and Tom Watson were showered with freebie Glasto tickets. Corbyn – who spoke on the main stage at the event – received two free tickets from the organisers at a total value £476 via “a member of his family“. Watson had it even better, wangling a total of five free tickets paid for by Live Nation, an American events firm based in Beverly Hills. Watson’s fistful of tickets came to a total value of a whopping £2,445. Sheffield Heeley Labour MP Louise Haigh also had two free tickets, paid for by Michael Dugher’s lobbying group UK Music (total value £900). John McDonnell, who branded the Grenfell fire “murder” at the festival, didn’t declare any Glasto freebies. While their middle class fans paid thousands, Labour’s headline acts went Glaston-free…

Watson at Wimbledon

In the Royal Box mixing with minor royals and tycoon Martin Sorrell, who just about manages on a million-a-week pay, so a lot of cream on his strawberries. Watson is doing the season; Glasto, Wimbledon…

Gove on Watson

Michael Gove on Tom Watson:

“Tom believes Rupert Murdoch picks the England cricket 1st 11 and England rugby 1st 15, as well as deciding who’s on Britain’s Got Talent.”

Tom Watson’s Rich List Chutzpah

Tom Watson has fired off a punchy blogpost attacking the number of super-rich Tory donors in the wake of this weekend’s Rich List. “What do many of the 100 richest people in the UK have in common,” Watson asks, “A good number of them have donated significant amounts of money to the Tory Party”.[…] Read the rest

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Diane Abbott on Amber Rudd:

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