Source: Labour List UK
Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader and the MP for West Bromwich East, has announced his decision to “stand down from national politics”.
After 35 years of working in politics full-time, Watson will step down both as a Labour MP and as deputy leader at the upcoming election on December 12th.
He has promised to campaign in favour of a Labour government in the run-up to polling day next month, and “won’t be leaving politics altogether” after the election.
In a letter to Jeremy Corbyn, Watson acknowledges that the two have “political differences” but says his decision to resign is “personal, not political”.
Below is Tom Watson’s statement in full.
Serving the Labour Party has been the privilege of a lifetime. I joined in 1982 and never imagined that one day a kid from Kidderminster would be the party’s Deputy Leader.
Most importantly for me, for the last 18 years it’s been my immense honour to represent people from Sandwell. It’s hard to find words to express my deep gratitude to the people who trusted me to fight their corner.
The Black Country is the very best of Britain. Communities who look out for their neighbours, who want to get on but not at the expense of others. Black Country people are the best in the world.
But now is the right time for me to stand down from national politics. The disagreements we have had inside the party are well-known; now is not the time to rehearse them again.
For me, the last few years have been personally transformational, second only to becoming a proud father of two beautiful children.
Downsizing and becoming healthy for the first time has inspired me to devote the next phase of my life to public health, using my own experience and working with entrepreneurs and public servants.
I am incredibly optimistic about reversing the national public health crisis through education, deep technology and public policy. I will devote myself to writing about this challenge, agitating for policy change and setting up a ‘remission for all’ movement for type 2 diabetics. I will announce further plans in the coming months, but I am excited about working with people I’ve met and many I’ve not.
I might be leaving Westminster but I won’t be leaving politics altogether. I will continue to champion progressive social democracy and a political culture that is inclusive, diverse and respects the opinions of others. In recent years we’ve lost sight of that simple politeness which used to define us as a nation. We need to find it again.
I will not be walking away from the election campaign. I will continue as Deputy Leader until December 12th and will do everything I can to return a team of bright, progressive Labour MPs.
Since its formation, the Labour Party has been the most powerful vehicle for social change this country has ever produced. I am deeply proud of what past Labour governments achieved and determined that we do so again.