10:41 GMT +317 October 2019
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    Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, left, talks with deputy leader Tom Watson during the start of the party's annual conference in Liverpool, England

    Labour Withdraws Motion to Abolish Post of Deputy Leader as Tom Watson Warns of Party Civil War

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    During a meeting of the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) on 20 September, the founder of Labour grassroots group Momentum Jon Lansman proposed a motion to abolish the post of party deputy leader, currently held by Tom Watson.

    A motion to remove the position of deputy leader in Britain's main opposition Labour Party in a bid to oust Tom Watson has been withdrawn, Labour MP Mary Creagh wrote on Twitter on Saturday.

    During a meeting of Labour’s Executive Committee late on Friday evening, the founder of the Labour movement Momentum, Jon Lansman, proposed to abolish the post of deputy leader of the party, currently occupied by Tom Watson, citing “disloyalty” over Brexit. Although the motion has been overturned by a 17 to 10 vote and was set to go back to the National Executive Committee on Saturday, Creagh’s post shows that the move has been withdrawn.  

    “Still appalling that some folk [sic] think internal battles more important than fighting Johnson & his no deal Brexit", wrote Creagh.

    On Saturday morning, the deputy leader of the Labour Party, Tom Watson, told BBC radio that the efforts to remove his post could be explained by his stance on Brexit, which is contrary to party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s.

    "It seems that my position on Brexit, where I very strongly believe that we need to work with other parties to stop a 'no-deal' (exit from the EU), where I've been campaigning for a referendum where I believe we should campaign for 'remain' ... I just think Jon Lansman and his faction are so angry about [my position on Brexit] that, they'd rather abolish me than have a debate with me about it", Tom Watson told BBC radio.

    Watson also said that the move was “a complete surprise” for him, as he found out about the action from a text message while having dinner at a Chinese restaurant in Manchester late Friday night. The deputy leader added that the move was a “sectarian attack” on the party’s “broad church”, which “completely goes against the sort of traditions that the Labour Party has had for 100 years".

    "These kinds of things happen in Venezuela, they shouldn't be happening in the United Kingdom", he added.

    Watson has been at odds with party leader Jeremy Corbyn over his insistence that a second referendum on Britain’s position within EU should be carried out before any general election and urging Labour to "unequivocally back remain", a vision that Corbyn does not share. Labour’s deputy leader has been accused of “disloyalty” by Corbyn’s supporters, including Lansman, and attempting to undermine the Labour leader by challenging him on a number of issues, such as anti-Semitism in the party.

    Tags:
    Tom Watson, Great Britain, Brexit, Jeremy Corbyn, Labour Party
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