Tom Watson vows to oversee anti-semitism and bullying allegations by Labour MPs

Posted On: 
25th February 2019

Tom Watson has called on Labour MPs to notify him personally when they make complaints to party bosses about anti-semitism, racism or bullying by party members.

Relations between Tom Watson and Jeremy Corbyn's office are strained.
PA Images

In a highly-unusual move, the party's deputy leader has asked them to copy him into any concerns they raise with Labour general secretary Jennie Formby.

PoliticsHome understands Mr Watson has made the move amid claims hundreds of complaints made by Labour MPs have been effectively ignored by party officials.

Tom Watson sets up 'social democratic' Labour MP group to broaden party's appeal

Jeremy Corbyn rebukes Tom Watson over claim Labour gripped by 'virulent' bullying

EXCL Tom Watson no longer being invited to key Labour Brexit meetings

It comes as tensions grow between the West Bromwich East MP and Jeremy Corbyn's office.

Mr Watson has already announced plans to set up a group of moderate Labour MPs to develop policy ideas for the party.

And appearing on the Andrew Marr show on Sunday, he challenged Mr Corbyn to do more to tackle anti-semitism by Labour members. He said he had personally handed the Labour leader 50 examples of racism against Jewish people in the past week.

In an email to all Labour MPs on Monday afternoon titled 'Anti-semitism, racism and bullying of colleagues', Mr Watson said: "Over recent weeks a number of colleagues have shared their frustration that incidents of anti-semitic, racist abuse and bullying have not been dealt with in an adequate and timely manner or that colleagues have not been informed of the outcome of party investigations.

"In response to these concerns, I requested that the General Secretary improve procedures by appointing a named member of staff that could be a point of contact for colleagues to raise cases and be updated on progress.

"Jennie Formby was very clear that she sees it as her responsibility to be your point of contact. So if you have any concerns about abuse or threats from fellow Labour Party members, or would like information about the progress of your complaint, please raise these issues directly with the General Secretary.

"As your Deputy Leader I am deeply alarmed at the amount of abuse that colleagues are receiving from within the party. In order to properly assess and monitor the scale of the problem, I would like to see any issue or complaint you raise with the General Secretary.  From now on my team will be logging and monitoring all complaints. I will ensure that this information is shared with both Jeremy, the Shadow Cabinet and colleagues on the National Executive Committee."

The Labour party has been approached for comment.