UK Labour's deputy leader steps down

Tom Watson was known for being at odds with Jeremy Corbyn over the anti-Semitism in the party.

Elad Benari ,

Tom Watson
Tom Watson
Reuters

The deputy leader of the British Labour party, Tom Watson, announced his resignation on Wednesday night.

Watson was known for being at odds with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn over issues such as Brexit and the party’s handling of the anti-Semitism within it.

In a letter to Corbyn released by Labour, Watson said his decision to step down was “personal, not political” and that he wanted to “start a different kind of life.”

“After 35 years in full-time politics, I've decided to step down and will be campaigning to overcome the Tory-fuelled public health crisis. I'm as committed to Labour as ever. I will spend this election fighting for brilliant Labour candidates and a better future for our country,” Watson said in a tweet in which he also published a copy of his resignation letter.

Watson, among other things, has been a major critic of Labour’s handling of the anti-Semitism within its ranks.

Dozens of Labour members have been suspended over their anti-Semitic statements in recent years.

Watson voiced his criticism this past June when one of those members, Chris Williamson, was readmitted to the party after being suspended for saying Labour is “too apologetic” over anti-Semitism.

Corbyn himself has been accused of holding anti-Semitic views by senior UK Jewish leaders. Corbyn has also been criticized for calling Hamas and Hezbollah his "friends" and for outright refusing to condemn those two terrorist organizations despite being urged to do so by local Jewish groups.

Much of the criticism against Corbyn is over his playing down the anti-Semitism in his party and alienating Jews. A report released in October of 2016 determined that the Labour party’s leadership is failing to seriously confront the anti-Semitism among its ranks.

Corbyn insists he is not an anti-Semite.




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