JEREMY Corbyn was today hit with a savage blast from his own deputy – who threatened to set up a new “party within a party”.
Tom Watson said he would summon a group of senior backbench MPs to come up with moderate policies opposed to Mr Corbyn’s hard left agenda.
London News Pictures Tom Watson has launched a furious attack on Jeremy Corbyn
He also revealed he’s confronted the leader with a huge dossier of anti-Semitic abuse from Labour activists.
Mr Watson called on Mr Corbyn to enact radical reform after nine MPs quit the party last week.
He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “We’re in a crisis, the departure of our colleagues is a real blow to us and we need to understand why they felt the need to go.
“There’s almost a sort of crisis for the soul of the Labour party now.
“Jeremy needs to understand that to be in Number 10 he needs to change the Labour Party. We have got to eradicate anti-Semitism, anti-Jewish racism in all its forms.
“This week I have had 50 complaints of anti-Semitism from my party colleagues which I shared with Jeremy. I think he needs to take a personal lead on examining those cases and, if necessary, recommend to our NEC what has to be done.”
There’s almost a sort of crisis for the soul of the Labour partyTom Watson
The deputy leader warned that new party rules intended to tackle anti-Semitism “patently have not succeeded”.
Mr Watson says he wants Mr Corbyn to carry out a Shadow Cabinet reshuffle and promote moderate backbenchers.
If the party boss refuses, his deputy will set up a new group of “social democrats” to come up with more centrist policies in a challenge to Labour’s hard-left agenda.
He said: “We’re only electorally successful if those different traditions can rub up against each other.
“I would prefer a reshuffle but if there isn’t one we need to give a platform to colleagues.
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“I’m not raising a rebel flag, I’m standing up for pluralism within our ranks. The situation is perilous in our party – we need to act and we need to act quickly.”
Mr Watson was independently elected as deputy leader in 2015, meaning he can’t be fired by Mr Corbyn.
His response to the creation of the Independent Group by ex-Labour rebels is in stark contrast to other party chiefs – who have launched furious attacks on the splitters.
AFP Jeremy Corbyn campaigning with Emily Thornberry yesterday
AP:Associated Press Labour is in crisis after the creation of the Independent Group
Jeremy Corbyn ‘sad’ nine MPs who quit Labour over anti-Semitism but REFUSES to change direction
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