Tom Watson (Labour Politician)
Tom Watson
MP
Official portrait of Tom Watson crop 2.jpg
Official Parliamentary photo, 2017
Deputy Leader of the Labour Party

12 September 2015
Leader Jeremy Corbyn
Harriet Harman
Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Culture, Media and Sport (2016-2017)

7 October 2016
Leader Jeremy Corbyn
Kelvin Hopkins
Labour Party Chair

12 September 2015 - 14 June 2017
Leader Jeremy Corbyn
Harriet Harman
Ian Lavery
Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office

14 September 2015 - 7 October 2016
Leader Jeremy Corbyn
Lucy Powell
Ian Lavery
Deputy Chair of the Labour Party

7 October 2011 - 4 July 2013
Leader Ed Miliband
Stephen Timms
Jon Ashworth
Minister for Digital Engagement and Civil Service Issues

25 January 2008 - 5 June 2009
Gordon Brown
Position established
Shriti Vadera
Member of Parliament
for West Bromwich East

7 June 2001
Peter Snape
Majority 7,713 (19.8%)
Personal details
Born Thomas Anthony Watson
(1967-01-08) 8 January 1967 (age 50)
Sheffield, England, UK
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Siobhan Watson
(2001-2012; separated)
Children 2
Alma mater University of Hull
Website Official website

Thomas Anthony Watson (born 8 January 1967) is a British Labour Party politician who was elected as Deputy Leader of the Labour Party in September 2015. He has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for West Bromwich East since the 2001 general election and was Minister for Digital Engagement and Civil Service Issues at the Cabinet Office from 2008 to 2009.[1]

In October 2011, Ed Miliband appointed Watson as the Deputy Chair of the Labour Party and the Labour Party's Campaign Co-ordinator for the 2015 general election.[2] He resigned from both roles in July 2013 following a controversy over the selection of a new parliamentary candidate for Falkirk to replace Eric Joyce.[3]

On 12 September 2015, Watson was elected as his party's Deputy Leader, alongside Jeremy Corbyn, the new Leader of the Labour Party,[4] gaining 198,962 votes or 50.7%, including second preference votes from those who voted for other candidates.[5] Since October 2016 he has also served as Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Early life and career

Born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, Tom Watson was educated at King Charles I School, Kidderminster and the University of Hull, where he was active in the Hull University Labour Club and elected President of the Students' Union in 1992. He was Chair of the National Organisation of Labour Students from 1992-93. He then worked as a marketing officer and advertising account executive.

In 1993, he began to work for the Labour Party as National Development Officer for Youth. He then worked on the party's 1997 general election campaign before becoming the National Political Officer of the AEEU trade union.[6]

Member of Parliament

Backbencher

Watson was elected MP for West Bromwich East at the 2001 general election. He served on the Home Affairs Select Committee from 2001 to 2003, and supported the committee's recommendation on UK drug policy to "initiate a discussion within the Commission on Narcotic Drugs of alternative ways - including the possibility of legalisation and regulation - to tackle the global drugs dilemma".[7]

In his first year in parliament, Watson launched a campaign to ban album sales of convicted sex offender Gary Glitter.[8] In 2002, Watson moved a Ten Minute Rule Bill to change organ donation laws.[9]

In 2003 Watson voted for the Iraq War,[10] and subsequently voted consistently against an investigation into the Iraq war.[11]

Watson was campaign chair for Labour in the Birmingham Hodge Hill by-election in July 2004. The campaign drew criticism for its dirty tactics, particularly a Labour leaflet proclaiming "Labour is on your side - the Lib Dems are on the side of failed asylum seekers", for which Watson later admitted responsibility and expressed regrets.[6]

In 2003 he began to include a blog on his website. In 2004 he won the New Statesman New Media Award in the category of elected representative for using his blog to further the democratic process.[]

Government

Watson was appointed as an Assistant Government Whip in September 2004.[12] He was promoted in May 2006 to Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Defence. Watson was instrumental in ensuring that soldiers shot for cowardice in the First World War received posthumous pardons.[13]

On 5 September 2006, it was reported that Watson had signed a letter to Tony Blair urging the Prime Minister's resignation to end the uncertainty over his succession.[14] The Government Chief Whip, Jacqui Smith, told Watson that evening that he must either withdraw his signature to the letter, or resign his post. On 6 September 2006, he resigned his ministerial position and released a further statement calling on Blair to resign.[15]

Tony Blair was quoted by the BBC as saying that the statement and letter from Watson was "disloyal, discourteous and wrong" and that he would be seeing Watson later in the day. He said that he had planned to dismiss Watson or having signed the letter urging him to resign.[] As Watson recounted on his blog, his reception at the Labour Party Conference a few weeks after his resignation got a mixed reaction. Some sought him out to congratulate him, whilst others sought him out to be sarcastic or to be abusive. One such encounter was with Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, who asked Watson if he was "going to resign again?"[]

Watson in 2009

Watson returned as a government whip in July 2007, after Gordon Brown became prime minister.[16] Watson took a particular interest in digital affairs, and in making non-personal government data more available to the public. As a Cabinet Office minister from January 2008 to June 2009 he promoted innovative data use and open source software.[17][18] Watson created a new post for a Director of Digital Engagement at the Cabinet Office.[]

Watson led a number of MPs in speaking out firmly against the Digital Economy Act 2010, as the bill was being passed through Parliament in April 2010. He took part in a protest against the bill outside parliament on 24 March 2010.[19]

Expenses

On 10 May 2009 it was revealed that since being re-elected to parliament in 2005, Watson had claimed the maximum £4,800 allowance for food in a single year. From 2005 to 2009, Watson and Iain Wright claimed over £100,000 on a central London flat they share.[20] Watson responded that a "pizza wheel" that appeared on a Marks & Spencer receipt he had submitted was given as a free gift after he spent £150 at the store. He added: "All claims were made under the rules set out by the House of Commons authorities. I fully understand why the public expects the system to be reformed. I voted for this last week and only hope that reforms can go even further as quickly as possible."[20]

Opposition

Watson served on the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee from July 2009 to September 2012.[21]

In October 2011 Watson was promoted to become Deputy Chair of the Labour Party, to work with Jon Trickett and Michael Dugher in the Shadow Cabinet Office, running Labour's elections and campaigns. He resigned from this position in July 2013, in light of the 2013 Labour Party Falkirk candidate selection row.[3]

News International phone hacking scandal

Watson played a significant role in the News International phone hacking scandal by helping to bring the series of events at the News of the World into the open.[22] As a member of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, he questioned Rupert and James Murdoch, along with former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks, in a Committee session on 19 July 2011. After the subsequent re-questioning of James Murdoch on 10 November 2011, Watson likened him to a mafia boss.[23]

Leveson Inquiry leak

On 27 November 2011, Watson's website published Alastair Campbell's evidence that was due to be presented to the Leveson Inquiry into media ethics during the following week. After this act was highlighted on the Guido Fawkes blog, together with references to the source material, the page was withdrawn.[24]Paul Staines, editor of Guido Fawkes, was summoned, on the same day that this appeared, to appear in front of the enquiry. It appeared that Watson was not going to be summoned to appear as the Leveson Enquiry had deemed that he copied it from the Guido Fawkes blog, a version that had been redacted. No details were to hand to verify the dates and times of his publication, nor how it appeared to be unredacted. The summons against Staines was withdrawn on 30 November 2011, the day before he was due to give evidence.[25]

Dial M for Murdoch

In July 2011 it was announced that Watson and his co-author Martin Hickman, a journalist from The Independent, were writing a book dealing with the relationship between newspapers belonging to Rupert Murdoch's News International and senior British politicians and police officers.[26] Watson wrote his book at the same time as The Guardian journalist Nick Davies was writing his, which was subsequently released as Hack Attack: How the Truth Caught Up with Rupert Murdoch. Watson and Davies subsequently met and discussed their respective projects.[26] The publication date and title of Watson's book, Dial M for Murdoch: News Corporation and the Corruption of Britain, were released just three days before it was due to go on sale amid fears News International would try to prevent the launch.[27] On the day details of the book were revealed, Watson indicated on his blog his belief that the book would be controversial: "Very excited to say we've finally finished the book. It's out this Thursday. I have a hunch it will be one of the most attacked books this year."[28]

Exposure of alleged high-level UK paedophile network

On 24 October 2012, Watson suggested in the House of Commons that a paedophile network may have existed in the past at a high level, protected by connections to Parliament and involving a close aide to a former Prime Minister; neither the aide nor the former Prime Minister were named. He called on the Metropolitan Police to reopen a closed criminal inquiry into previous allegations.[29] In December 2012, the Metropolitan Police stated that, after Watson had passed information to them, they had established Operation Fairbank to investigate the allegations.[30] It was reported by The Independent that police had interviewed a number of adults who claimed that, as children, they had been sexually assaulted by senior MPs.[31] In 2015 Watson was criticised for consistently refusing to comment after it was revealed that the police had been pushed into investigating rape allegations against Leon Brittan by Watson, who wrote to the Director of Public Prosecutions, and that the police later had to apologise that Brittan's family were not told that the case was dropped before his death. Watson had repeated the allegations after the death.[32] The rape allegations were examined by the Metropolitan Police but officers could not find evidence that would lead to further action, though multiple allegations of child abuse by Brittan were still being investigated at the time[33]

Media

Watson has been critical of conservative former Fox News host Glenn Beck, claiming Beck's "type of journalism is dangerous and can have wide-ranging negative effects on society. The kind of material broadcast by Glenn Beck is not unique; a number of other 'shock jocks' operate in the States. However, none has displayed intolerance on such a frequent and irresponsible scale as Glenn Beck. It is vital that that kind of 'news' is not made or broadcast in the UK. However, the proposed acquisition of BSkyB by News Corp means that there is an increased chance of it becoming a reality."[34]

In August 2010, Watson was guest editor of the Labour Uncut website.[35]

Watson has described himself as a feminist.[36] He is Vice Chair of Trade Union Friends of Israel (TUFI).[37]

Hunger strike

Watson announced in October 2017 that he had gone on hunger strike, in support of two Guantánamo Bay detainees also on hunger strike, after the US government changed its policy on prisoners who refuse food; they will not be fed at all, instead of being force fed.[38]

Deputy Leader of the Labour Party

Watson and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn at the 2016 Labour Party Conference

On 8 May 2015, the day after the Labour Party lost the general election, Watson announced his intention to stand in the ensuing deputy leadership election, becoming the first candidate to declare.[39] Watson was nominated by 59 Members of Parliament, more than any of the other four candidates, and quickly emerged as the front runner in the ballot.[40]

On 12 September he was elected as Deputy Leader of the Labour Party with 50.7% of the vote in the final round.[41] He was also appointed Labour Party Chair and Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office by new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.[21]

In August 2016, Watson said Corbyn did not tell him about the decision to give Shami Chakrabarti a peerage in the House of Lords.[42]

In the October 2016 shadow cabinet reshuffle, Watson was made Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. In that role he called for greater scrutiny of a planned takeover of Sky UK by Murdoch-owned Fox,[43] backed the TV licence fee,[44] criticised government pressure on Ofcom in relation to regulation of the BBC,[45] and proposed fairer rail ticketing for football fans.[46]

In June 2017 Ian Lavery replaced Watson as Labour Party Chair.[47]

Personal life

Watson is married to Siobhan,[48] having two children before separating in 2012.[49][50]

Hobbies

Tom Watson is a gamer and a regular reviewer for New Statesman[51] and other titles. He finds it relaxing and confessed to spending too much time on Portal 2 while preparing for questions during the hacking story interviews.[52] Watson is a fan of alternative rock music, especially the band Drenge, whom he recommended to the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, in his letter of resignation when stepping down from the post of party general election co-ordinator.[53] He also likes the music of Courtney Jaye,[53]Danny Coughlan, Billy Bragg, Elvis Costello, Primal Scream and Public Enemy.[54]

Bibliography

References

  1. ^ "Resignation". Tom Watson MP. 5 June 2009. Archived from the original on 12 January 2016. 
  2. ^ "Unveiling Labour's new guard". BBC News. 7 October 2011. Retrieved 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "Tom Watson quits as Labour election campaign chief". BBC News. 4 July 2013. Retrieved 2013. 
  4. ^ "Labour leadership contest live: Will Jeremy Corbyn win? - BBC News". bbc.co.uk. 
  5. ^ "Results of The Labour Leadership contest". Archived from the original on 21 July 2016. Retrieved 2015. 
  6. ^ a b Bernstein, Jon (28 September 2011). "The Politics Interview -- Tom Watson". New Statesman. London. Retrieved 2016. 
  7. ^ "Select Committee on Home Affairs Third Report". UK Parliament. 22 May 2002. Retrieved 2012. 
  8. ^ Bamber, David (14 October 2001). "Gary Glitter's comeback plan sparks protest". London: Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2012. 
  9. ^ Journal And Information Office, House of Lords. "Publications and Records". Publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved 2013. 
  10. ^ "Tom Watson". theyworkforyou.com. 
  11. ^ "Tom Watson". theyworkforyou.com. 
  12. ^ Marina Hyde's diary, The Guardian, 6 January 2005; retrieved 6 September 2006
  13. ^ McDonald, Henry (28 October 2007). "War shame ended by plea of a daughter". The Guardian. London, UK. Retrieved 2010. 
  14. ^ Minister joins Blair exit demands, BBC News Online, 5 September 2006; retrieved 6 September 2006
  15. ^ Blair under pressure to name day, BBC News Online, 6 September 2006; retrieved 6 September 2006.
  16. ^ "In full: Gordon Brown's reshuffle". BBC News Online. 24 January 2008. Retrieved 2010. 
  17. ^ Cross, Michael (10 July 2008). "Take your chance to free public data". The Guardian. Retrieved 2010. 
  18. ^ "UK government backs open source". BBC News Online. 25 February 2009. Retrieved 2010. 
  19. ^ Owens, Craig (30 March 2010). "Tom Watson MP: 'Shame On' Authors Of Digital Economy Bill". Archived from the original on 9 September 2012. 
  20. ^ a b Gordon Rayner and Rosa Prince (10 May 2009). "Iain Wright and Tom Watson lavish £100,000 on shared central London flat on MPs' expenses". Telegraph. Retrieved 2009. 
  21. ^ a b "Tom Watson MP". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2017. 
  22. ^ Walker, Jonathon (8 July 2011). "The Tom Watson Story: The man who took on Rupert Murdoch and won". Birmingham Post. Retrieved 2011. 
  23. ^ "Tom Watson labels James Murdoch 'mafia boss'". BBC News. 10 November 2011. Retrieved 2011. 
  24. ^ "Watson Hits Delete Button - Guy Fawkes' blog". Order-order.com. 27 November 2011. Retrieved 2012. 
  25. ^ "Denied Day in Court - Guy Fawkes' blog". Order-order.com. 30 November 2011. Retrieved 2012. 
  26. ^ a b Roy Greenslade (26 July 2011). "Hack Attack review - Nick Davies's gripping account of the hacking affair". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014. 
  27. ^ Hall, Richard (17 April 2012). "New book 'exposes links between Murdoch, politicians and police'". The Independent. Independent Print Ltd. Retrieved 2012. 
  28. ^ McNally, Paul (16 April 2012). "Tom Watson phone hacking book out this week". Journalism.co.uk. Retrieved 2012. 
  29. ^ Hickman, Martin (25 October 2012). "Was there a paedophile ring in No 10? MP Tom Watson demands probe". The Independent. London. Retrieved 2012. 
  30. ^ "Jimmy Savile abuse: Number of alleged victims reaches 450". BBC News. 12 December 2012. Retrieved 2012. 
  31. ^ "Scotland Yard investigating allegations senior politicians abused children in the 1980s and used 'connections' to escape justice". The Independent. 13 December 2012. Retrieved 2012. 
  32. ^ Cecil, Nicholas (9 October 2015). "Watson urged to break silence over Lord Brittan abuse claims". London Evening Standard. p. 6. 
  33. ^ Tom Parmenter. "Watson Defends Actions Over Brittan Rape Claims". Sky News. 
  34. ^ Linkins, Jason (21 January 2011) British MP Tom Watson To Glenn Beck: 'You Are A Bigot', Huffington Post, 21 January 2011.
  35. ^ "The Week Uncut". Labour Uncut. 22 August 2010. Retrieved 2010. 
  36. ^ Tom Watson. YouTube. 14 July 2015. 
  37. ^ Philpot, Robert (26 September 2015). "Shadow cabinet set for battle over Israel". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 2016. 
  38. ^ Watson, Tom (17 October 2017). "Why I'm going on hunger strike". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 2017. 
  39. ^ Mason, Rowena (10 May 2015). "Caroline Flint tipped to run as Labour's deputy leader against Tom Watson". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015. 
  40. ^ Perraudin, Frances (19 June 2015). "Labour still a 20th-century party, says deputy leader contender Tom Watson". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015. 
  41. ^ "Tom Watson elected deputy leader of the Labour Party". BBC News. 
  42. ^ "Tom Watson says Jeremy Corbyn didn't tell him about decision to make Shami Chakrarbati a peer". 5 August 2016. 
  43. ^ Sweney, Mark (20 June 2017). "Fox's £11.7bn bid for Sky 'should be referred to competition authorities'". The Guardian. Retrieved 2017. 
  44. ^ Sweney, Mark (13 June 2017). "Tom Watson urges Tories to reject DUP plan to abolish TV licence fee". The Guardian. Retrieved 2017. 
  45. ^ Ruddick, Graham (17 August 2017). "Labour accuses culture secretary over BBC and Ofcom 'interference'". The Guardian. Retrieved 2017. 
  46. ^ Wilson, Paul (10 August 2017). "Labour's Tom Watson calls for more flexible rail ticketing to help away fans". The Guardian. Retrieved 2017. 
  47. ^ https://www.expressandstar.com/news/trending-topics/general-election-2017/2017/06/16/watson-ditched-as-labour-chair/
  48. ^ "House of Commons - The Register of Members' Financial Interests - Part 2: Part 2". Publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved 2011. 
  49. ^ "MP Tom Watson finds new love after marriage comes to an end". Birmingham Mail. 26 August 2012. Retrieved 2013. 
  50. ^ Aitkenhead, Decca (20 October 2017). "Labour's Tom Watson: 'Do Jeremy Corbyn and I get on better now? Yes, a lot'". The Guardian. Retrieved 2017. 
  51. ^ "Tom Watson Best and Worst Games". Retrieved 2015. 
  52. ^ "Tom Watson phone hacking scandal gaming confession". Retrieved 2015. 
  53. ^ a b Gibsone, Harriet. "Tom Watson: 'I resign ... Oh, and have you heard Drenge?'". The Guardian. Guardian Media Inc. Retrieved 2015. 
  54. ^ Watson, Tom. "Glastonbury Dispatches: Tom Watson MP". Noisey: Music by VICE. Vice Media. Retrieved 2015. 

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Peter Snape
Member of Parliament
for West Bromwich East

2001-present
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
New office
Minister for Digital Engagement and Civil Service Issues
2008-2009
Succeeded by
Shriti Vadera
Preceded by
Hilary Benn
Deputy Leader of the Opposition
2015-present
Incumbent
Preceded by
Lucy Powell
Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office
2015-2016
Succeeded by
Ian Lavery
Preceded by
Kelvin Hopkins
Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
2016-present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
Stephen Timms
Deputy Chair of the Labour Party
2011-2013
Succeeded by
Jon Ashworth
Preceded by
Harriet Harman
Deputy Leader of the Labour Party
2015-present
Incumbent
Labour Party Chair
2015-2017
Succeeded by
Ian Lavery

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.


Tom_Watson_(Labour_politician)
 



 

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