Labour deputy Tom Watson brands party’s response to defector MPs ‘spiteful’

LABOUR was plunged into a fresh civil war last night as Tom Watson slammed his own party’s “spiteful” response to the defectors.

Jeremy Corbyn unveiled plans to make it easier to boot defector MPs out of Parliament just 48 hours after his party was rocked by a sensational split.

Tom Watson branded Jeremy Corbyn's response to Labour Independent Group defectors 'spiteful'
Tom Watson branded Labour’s response to Independent Group defectors ‘spiteful’

Under the bid, voters would be allowed to sack MPs who switched allegiance if ten per cent of the constituency sign a petition.

The move by Labour was branded a cheap “stunt” by MP Chris Leslie – one of the defectors.
While Mr Watson, the deputy Labour leader, savaged his own party’s policy – and said no one had bothered to tell him about it.

He told LBC: “I didn’t know he was going to do that but it seems to me that whatever the merits of the position that he is putting on recall elections and resigning from parties, it just looks spiteful.

“Those people that left the Labour Party did so with a heavy heart.

“And it looks like we are trying to be knee-jerk about it, rather than looking at the actual issue which is Brexit and the state of British politics.”

Labour bosses have been swift to hit back at the splitters – demanding they hold immediate by-elections.

Mr Corbyn’s spokesman launched an extraordinary attack on the newly formed group yesterday.

He blasted: “They have formed what is effectively an establishment coalition based on the failed and rejected policies of the past – austerity, corporate tax cuts, privatisation.”

And he stamped on calls for Mr Corbyn to bring more moderates into his shadow cabinet to heal the bitter party rift.

He said: “We have a very strong shadow cabinet and shadow ministerial team and of course as time goes on we will continue to engage and develop that team.”

While Momentum the army of volunteers dedicated to keeping Mr Corbyn in power – will try to pile pressure on the eight Labour splitters by vowing to to canvass in the seats.

Laura Parker, Momentum’s National Coordinator, blasted the group for “working hand in hand” with Tories and demanded they call by-elections.

Labour defectors who founded The Independent Group (L-R): Ann Coffey, Angela Smith, Chris Leslie, Mike Gapes, Luciana Berger, Gavin Shuker, and Chuka Umunna 
The Independent Group, pictured from left to right, Ann Coffey, Angela Smith, Chris Leslie, Mike Gapes, Luciana Berger, Gavin Shuker, and Chuka Umunna


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