‘She’s a marginal figure!’ Tom Watson accuses Diane Abbott of ‘stirring pot’ among Labour

Diane Abbott ‘stirring the pot’ says Tom Watson

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Tom Watson, the former Deputy leader of the Labour Party lashed out at Diane Abbott for demanding Sir Keir Starmer step down if he loses the upcoming Batley and Spen by-election. Speaking to LBC, Mr Watson accused the Hackney South and Stoke Newington MP of “stirring the pot” with her scathing article before branding the former shadow Home Secretary as “a marginal figure” within Labour.

Mr Watson said: “Well, the very rewarding thing about living in semi-retirement to write books in Worcestershire is I don’t have to worry about what Diane Abbott has to say anymore.” 

LBC presenter Tom Swarbrick interjected: “Is she not an important voice?”

Mr Watson replied: “Well, she is obviously a historic figure in the Labour Party.”

And in a brutal swipe, the former Deputy said: “But she is now a marginal figure.”

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Mr Watson went on to explain how the 67-year-old veteran Labour MP’s socialist faction in the party “lost an election” for Labour.

He added: “And I think anyone reasonable, anyone sensible – even Jeremy (Corbyn) would know that resigning after losing a couple of by-elections is a dumb thing for Keir Starmer to do.

“So I am absolutely certain that Diane was doing what she does so well…” 

And in a stinging zinger, Mr Watson slammed: “Which is stirring the pot!”

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Mr Watson’s comments came after Diane Abbott wrote a scathing opinion piece in The Guardian calling for a leadership change if Keir Starmer loses the West Yorkshire Batley and Spen by-election to the Tories.

The Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP wrote: “Keir Starmer faces another by-election in the coming months in Batley and Spen.

“If Labour loses again, it must surely be curtains for him.

“And then it may be that Andy Burnham’s time will have to come.”


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The Batley and Spen constituency seat is up for grabs following the resignation of Labour’s Tracy Brabin who stepped down as an MP when she was elected as West Yorkshire’s first metro mayor.

Ryan Stephenson, chairman of the West Yorkshire Conservatives, has been chosen as the Tory candidate for the seat which has been held by Labour since 1997. 

Labour will announce their candidate later today (Sunday) but a date for the by-election is yet to be decided.

The constituency was the seat of the tragic late Labour MP Jo Cox who was murdered by a right-wing extremist in June 2016 in the town Birstall in the constituency. 

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