Wat­son steps down as Labour deputy leader and MP

Evening Times - - NEWS -

TOM Wat­son has an­nounced that he is step­ping down as deputy leader of the Labour Party.

In a shock an­nounce­ment, Mr Wat­son said that he would not be seek­ing re-elec­tion as an MP in the forth­com­ing Gen­eral Elec­tion.

In a let­ter to Labour leader Jeremy Cor­byn, he said that the time had come to “start a dif­fer­ent kind of life”.

“The de­ci­sion is per­sonal, not po­lit­i­cal,” he said.

“The last few years have been among the most trans­for­ma­tional of my per­sonal life, sec­ond only to be­com­ing a proud fa­ther of two beau­ti­ful chil­dren.

“I’ve be­come healthy for the first time and I in­tend to con­tinue with this work in the years to come.”

He said that he would re­main as deputy leader un­til polling day in December and would be play­ing an “ac­tive part” in Labour’s elec­tion cam­paign.

Mr Wat­son was elected to the po­si­tion in 2015, at the same time as Jeremy Cor­byn was elected Labour leader.

Dur­ing their time to­gether at the top of the party the two men clashed re­peat­edly, with Mr Wat­son, a for­mer ally of Gor­don Brown, be­com­ing a fo­cus for the “mod­er­ate” op­po­si­tion in the party to Mr Cor­byn.

He was pub­licly crit­i­cal of the lead­er­ship’s at­tempts to tackle an­tiSemitism in the party and led moves to push it into sup­port­ing a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum on the EU, de­spite the en­trenched re­sis­tance of the leader.

Most re­cently, he de­fied Mr Cor­byn by call­ing for the party to back a new pub­lic vote be­fore the coun­try went to the polls in a gen­eral elec­tion.

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