POLITICS
08/02/2019 17:30 GMT

Tom Watson Calls For Local Labour Party Suspension Over Luciana Berger 'Bullying'

The party's deputy leader said behaviour towards the Jewish MP was "intolerable".

PA Wire/PA Images
Luciana Berger

Tom Watson has written to Labour’s general secretary asking her to suspend a local Labour party branch over a planned no-confidence vote in MP Luciana Berger.

The party’s deputy leader urged Jennie Formby to take action against Liverpool Wavertree CLP after it proposed two no-confidence motions in Berger – who has been accused of “continually criticising” Jeremy Corbyn.

The heavily pregnant MP, who is Jewish, has spoken out against the Labour leader’s handling of anti-Semitism in the party.

Senior Labour MPs, including Ed Miliband and Yvette Cooper, rallied to her support on Friday, when the votes were planned to take place.

Watson’s letter states: “It is clear to me that Luciana Berger is being bullied. This behaviour by her local party is intolerable.

“The actions of her constituency are not only threating towards Luciana personally but are bringing our party into disrepute.

“I am therefore requesting that you take the necessary steps to suspend Liverpool Wavertree Constituency Labour Party.”

Speaking in the Commons earlier on Friday, Watson warned that many MPs were still “the subject of death threats, the subject of racist abuse, the subject of misogynistic abuse, the subject of bullying and anti-Semitism”.

Both motions were later withdrawn, one of which said: “The UK is in crisis because of the appalling austerity policies of a government that serves the interests of the rich. We need a Labour government under the socialist leadership of our twice-elected leader Jeremy Corbyn. Instead of fighting for a Labour government our MP is continually using the media to criticise the man we all want to be prime minister.”

The other read: “The Tories are deeply divided, but millions are still suffering from their austerity policies. We desperately need a socialist Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn. Our MP is continually criticising our leader when she should be working for a general election and opposing the Tories.”

A source in Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s office said: “It’s the right decision”.