Tom Watson: Berger’s resignation was ‘Labour’s worst day of shame in 120 years’
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Tom Watson: Berger’s resignation was ‘Labour’s worst day of shame in 120 years’

Labour's deputy leader has described Luciana Berger as "a pregnant young MP bullied out of her own party by racist thugs".

Tom Watson
Tom Watson

Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson has described Luciana Berger’s resignation  as “the worst day of shame in the Labour Party’s 120-year history”.

Watson told the Today Programme that the Liverpool Wavertree MP was “a pregnant young MP bullied out of her own party by racist thugs”.

Watson said he has asked to see Corbyn on Monday to discuss antisemitism and warned the party was “perilously close” to losing more MPs over the issue.

He spoke the day after the suspension of close Corbyn ally Chris Williamson over his claims the party has been “too apologetic” about antisemitism.

But Watson declined to comment on speculation a representative of Corbyn’s office had argued against Williamson’s suspension on Wednesday.

When asked whether anyone from the leader’s office had argued against suspension, Watson replied: “I can’t confirm that. I’ve no idea who said what in Jeremy’s office. I honestly don’t know that.

Labour said the decision to suspend Williamson was taken before a letter from MPs demanding tougher action was received.

Watson also said Williamson was “entitled to a fair hearing”.

But he added: “I’ve been very, very concerned that his comments have almost been deliberately inflammatory and causing offence to not just parliamentary colleagues but people in the Jewish community who understandably have a real concern about antisemitism in the Labour Party.”

When asked whether Corbyn was fit to be prime minister, given his handling of the antisemitism issue, Watson replied: “He could easily be prime minister.

“But, of course, we could do without the antisemitism because it allows you to ask me that question on the Today programme.

“We need to close these issues down and we do it by being absolutely vigilant in the way we deal with racism in our own ranks. That’s on all of us.”

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