Labour Party Deputy, Critic of Corbyn, Resigns in ‘Personal, Not Political’ Decision

November 6, 2019
LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 09: Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Tom Watson, arrives at Labour HQ on July 09, 2019 in London, England. The Labour Party’s Executive Committee is meeting to discuss alleged anti-semitism in the party. (Photo by Luke Dray/Getty Images)

Labour Party Deputy Leader Tom Watson, who has been a frequent critic of Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of anti-Semitism in the party, announced his resignation on Nov. 6.

In a letter to Corbyn posted to Twitter, Watson said that his decision was “personal, not political” and that he’ll spend life as a private citizen writing about “the public health challenge facing our country.” Watson said that he will still be campaigning for certain Labour candidates.

The Times of Israel (TOI) notes that Watson has “been a major critic of Labour’s handling of an ongoing crisis over anti-Semitism,” which included him saying in 2018 that the party will “disappear into a vortex of eternal shame and embarrassment” if it didn’t adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism. The party adopted what critics say was a watered-down version of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism.

In July, Watson told BBC Radio 4 Today that under Corbyn’s leadership, Labour has “failed to address adequately” the “permissive culture that people can use anti-Jewish, racist language.”

There have been at least 10 other Labour members in 2019 who have resigned from the party, most of whom citing Corbyn’s handling of anti-Semitism as their motivating factor for doing so. Watson did not cite that in his letter of resignation.

Tablet Magazine Senior Writer Yair Rosenberg tweeted, “The deputy leader of the British Labour party, one of the few vocal defenders of Jews within it against the party’s anti-Semites, is leaving after 35 years in politics and won’t run this election. Tells you all you need to know about why 94% of UK Jews say they won’t vote Labour.”


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