Trotskyists are ‘twisting the arms’ of young party members to vote for Jeremy: Tom Watson

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Labour is being infiltrated by hard left Trotskyists who will keepJeremy Corbyn in power and destroy the party, the deputy Labour leader has warned.  Tom Watson has claimed “Trotsky entryists” have been “twisting the arms” of young party members to vote for the Labour leader and have no interest in winning a general election.

He also revealed he barely speaks to Mr Corbyn, communicating only though the occasional text message.

In an interview with the Guardian he said: “We still send the odd text to each other. It’s usually about family stuff, you know.

Mr Watson suggested a  large number of new members are not “remotely interested” in winning elections and instead see the party as a “vehicle for revolutionary socialism.”

He said: “There are some old hands twisting young arms in this process, and I’m under no illusions about what’s going on.

“They are caucusing and factionalising and putting pressure where they can, and that’s how Trotsky entryists operate. Sooner or later, that always ends up in disaster. It always ends up destroying the institutions that are vulnerable, unless you deal with it.”

He added that some “Trots”, who have returned to Labour after being driven out decades ago, “certainly don’t have the best interests of the Labour party at heart.

“They see the Labour party as a vehicle for revolutionary socialism, and they’re not remotely interested in winning elections, and that’s a problem.”

He said that members of the shadow cabinet should be elected and that he supported the reintroduction of the electoral college for selecting future Labour leaders.

Mr Watson said that Ed Miliband had made a “terrible error of judgement” by  intorducing a “one member, one vote” sytem in leadership elections.

He added that he did not blame his boss for the crisis engulfing the party and instead feels “great sorrow” for Mr Corbyn.

“You know, at any point in time I want to put my arms around him and hug him and say it’s going to be all right, but also sort of shout and say, we need to talk about this”, he said.

Mr Watson sought to downplay rumors of a split after reports in The Telegraph that dissenting MPs are preparing to elect their own leader and launch a legal challenge for the party’s name and assets if Owen Smith fails to win the battle for the top job.

“Every single person I talk to on the left and right of the party thinks this is a bad idea” he said.

“I’ve not had anyone muse with me about it. I’ve not had anyone gossip with me about it. I’ve not heard anyone raising it as an issue.”

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