LABOUR’s Tom Watson has called a plot to oust him as deputy leader a “straight sectarian attack” on a “broad church party”.
He said he found out by text about an attempt by senior Corbyn supporters to abolish his post, adding that the party leader could “put a stop to the move if he wanted to”.
Mr Watson was speaking to the BBC after a motion was tabled at a meeting of Labour’s National Executive Committee late on Friday night.
The motion was brought by Jon Lansman, founder of grassroots campaign group Momentum and a key ally of Jeremy Corbyn.
Mr Watson said he had not attended Friday’s meeting, which comes as Labour’s annual party conference gets underway in Bournemouth, because he was looking after his 14-year-old son.
“This conference is supposed to a platform for what could be a general election in six weeks,” he said.
“It’s a straight sectarian attack on a broad church party.
“And it’s moving us into a different kind of institution, where pluralism isn’t tolerated, where factional observance has to be adhered to completely.
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“And it completely goes against the tradition that the Labour Party has had for 100 years.”
“I look at the days when Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were leader and there was room for Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell to have dissenting voices.”
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