Labour anti-Semitism row intensifies as general secretary slams deputy leader

Labour tensions over how allegations of anti-Semitism are dealt with broke into the open again as the party's general secretary strongly criticised the stance of deputy leader Tom Watson.

Jennie Formby accused Mr Watson of behaving in a "completely unacceptable" way by asking Labour parliamentarians to forward complaints made to the party about anti-Semitism to him so they could be monitored.

Ms Formby said that Mr Watson's approach would "undermine" and "pollute" the existing system of dealing with complaints.

In a letter to Mr Watson, which was forwarded to all Labour MPs and peers, Ms Formby wrote: "It is absolutely inappropriate for you to set up a vague parallel complaints monitoring system."

Ms Formby said it was "completely unacceptable" for Mr Watson to receive data relating to such complaints.

Jennie Formby
Jennie Formby has criticised Labour's deputy leader (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The general secretary added: "Furthermore, you will undermine the work that my staff and I are doing and will confuse and pollute the existing formal process, compromising it and slowing it down."

Ms Formby asked Labour parliamentarians not to send complaints to Mr Watson "or any other unauthorised individual".

The row erupted after Mr Watson wrote to Labour MPs and peers to say that he will be "logging and monitoring" all complaints of anti-Semitic abuse and bullying.

In an email, Mr Watson asked Labour parliamentarians to inform him of any complaints of anti-Semitism so he can ensure that they are shared with Jeremy Corbyn and other leading figures.

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