Saturday, May 19, 2007

Tom Watson Loses the Plot

Labour MP Tom Watson has lost it. He has finally made an ATTEMPT to explain his vote in favour of the FOI Bill (see my post HERE) but in doing so makes a bit of a prat of himself. In his blogpost he has this to say...
This Bill was put forward by the former Tory Chief Whip. Don’t be fooled by the
disingenous comments and synthetic outrage of Iain Dale and his chums.
Incidentally, he seemed to know how many MPs from each party had voted on the
Bill yesterday afternoon - before they are made available in Hansard. He can
only have got this information from a source in one of the Whips offices
(I’m certain the parliamentary clerks would not help him). This suggests to me that
he is part of a Tory spin operation - understandable but funadamentally
dishonest in regard to this piece of legislation.

Pathetic. He doesn't even seem to know how Hansard works. I got the voting lists from the House of Commons website, which publishes the uncorected transcript of the whole debate three hours after it finished. For proof click HERE. Note the sentence: Today's debates approximately 3 hours behind real time. It also provides the division lists at the same time. The relevant Hansard page is HERE and it was posted at 14.44 on Friday. I wrote the original post at 4.47pm and added the division lists about 45 minutes later having copied them and pasted them. So perhaps he would like to withdraw the suggestion that I got it elsewhere and am part of some sort of organised spin operation. Seeing as I have criticised Tory MPs for voting in favour of the Bill I cannot really understand his logic. Perhaps someone can enlighten me.


Tony said...

Come now Iain. You do not really expect a stuffed shirt to actually think something through do you?

Tom Watson is just another pig with his snout in the trough. I wonder who gave him the idea that you were spinning the information?

At least we know where Watson stands on Freedom of Information. He and his chums believe they should be above scrutiny while the rest of us have to be compliant to all manner of state intrusion. He is as Stalinist as his soon-to-be boss.

Chris Paul said...

Strange. Funnily enough when I read the post I thought Tom meant the former Tory Whip got the division list early and not your good self Iain.

The question yourself and Tony need to be asking is "where does Cameron, Campbell and the other 500 MPs who pissed off early stand on this?"

It's that old glass house thing once again. Would have taken about 70 cancelled liquid lunches, golf matches and corporate board meetings to whip the Tory troops in line.

Does Cameron want this law? In case he is ever PM? Unlikely I think at this rate.

Iain Dale said...

Chris, With regard to the 500 who "pissed off early", I have to say I am surprised that there were 125 there to vote. Most MPs make appointments in their constituencies on Fridays - it's not as if they are having the day off.. No one really expected this to such a huge thing. However, it is rather hypocritical for Ming Campbell to tour the TV studios saying what a terrible thing this is when he didnt impose a whip on his MPs or even turn up himself.

I too would like to know the real attitude of the Tory frontbench. There were some very strange names in the Tory AYE list, as Ben Brogan highlights on his blog.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Tom for confirming our most paranoid suspicions about you and your chum Gordon. What you did yesteday merely confirms you're the lackey with the least shame and honour when it comes to undertaking Gordon's dirty work. What a blustering blowhard you are.

Tony said...

Maybe Chris, if the debate had been held on a day when most MPs are not in their constituencies, we would know.

Funny how you think the Tories need to be whipped into line when it was Labour who made time for this debate - and a number of Labour ministers effectively opposed their own legislation for the purpose of vested self interest.

Now remind us how many Labour MPs voted to shield themselves from scrutiny. You are right Chris. Glass houses indeed.

Anonymous said...

Hey Tom why did you do it? If you've got nothing to hide you've got nothing to fear! This is pitiful, one law for them one law for the rest of us. What a bunch of clueless, ivory tower superior buffoons. Have they any idea how little trusted they were before this self-serving little episode of infamy????? This will repair public trust and restore people's faith in politics won't it?

Anonymous said...

You REALLY need enlightenment about Watson, Iain?

Take it from 'the left' that the man is a self-seeking prat.

end of?

Incidentally, isn't the whole private members' legislation thing in the Commons a total mess if the agenda isn't known about enough in advance to let MPs decide whether or not to book up certain Fridays?

Anonymous said...

Return to sender.

Anonymous said...

"This suggests to me that
he is part of a Tory spin operation - understandable but funadamentally
dishonest in regard to this piece of legislation."

Does this bloke honestly believe that only Tories are outraged by the despicable behaviour of these theiving lying MP's?

Can it really be true that whats left of the Labour Party is so prostituted that none of them retain any shred of decency? Yep, guess so.

Anonymous said...

Iain I think I kicked it off asking you for a list about 17:30 ish , being one of your sock puppets I would have to wouldn't I :-)

Anonymous said...

Iain, you say, "Perhaps someone can enlighten me."

Yes, I can enlighten you. The man's a prat; an MP who doesn't even know how Hansard works. Where do they find these people? And how much do we pay them?

Anonymous said...

It's always a mistake to attempt to rationalise the thought-process of someone who is fundametally irrational. The man's a moron. End of story.

Bob said...

Muppet Fat A What.

Nuff said.

Anonymous said...

To restore our faith in democracy and transparency in government McCavity McBroon tours his (soon to be) lands and peoples. A brighter, better fairer , tomorrow awaits us - honest!. Where is our glorious leader de facto when asked for comment on the Freedom of Information Bill ?

Squalid, hypocritical, seedy, self serving breath taking gall. Be careful citizen,what you say or think or become an M.P. and be above scrutiny.

Anonymous said...

Have just felt the need to post this on Watson's blog. Lets see whether it stays there.

Tom Watson, regarding your comments.

1. you should have added until the present speaker is forced out and the new one changes the rules. As you know, there is nothing in the Bill to stop that.

2. no one appears to be able to find any evidence of this. if you have some, publish it. if you do have evidence, then the DPA needs strengthening. Excluding MP's from FOI is not the right route and is divisive.

3. Never assume that everyone who reads Iain Dales Diary is his chum. I find your comments petty, derogatory and insulting. IMHO that it looks like an allegation to me.

4. because everyone knew it was a stitch up. lies about neutrality, 3 line whip, motions of closure, that's a stitch up.

5. I always have a good weekend.

Gordon Brown has promised open and honest government. This is a simple black and white issue, no grey areas, no neutrality.
As such, the majority of people would respond by saying "No" when presented with such a bill as this one, anything else may lead to suggestions that it is just another way of saying that you have something to hide.

Yourself, like many MP’s and Ministers have seriously underestimated public anger and disgust at this vote, and all MP's need to be reminded once in a while that you work for us.

We will have our say soon, and we will remember at the ballot box those who took this vote on Friday.

Anonymous said...

David Maclean gets his just deserts in tomorrow's Mail on Sunday.

Anonymous said...

Who is TWatson and why doyoucare what he thinks?? Just asking -as you never mention any of the witty and political comments on my blog..

Anonymous said...

I am disappointed in Tom Watson. Not for voting for the amendment - I expected as much from him. I am just disappointed that an MP does not appear to know how hansard works. On top of that, he is ready to start spouting unfounded allegations of plots (pretty rich, seeing as he is a confirmed backroom plotter himself). And as for Tory spin operation, is he not even aware that it was a Tory who introduced the disgraceful amendment, and that Tories also voted for the amendment.
Could he not answer Iain's point without resorting to such low behaviour? Truly disappointing.

Anonymous said...


Good stuff.

Anonymous said...

Tony @ 9.08: "it was Labour who made time for this debate".

Nonsense. The Government does not control debating time in the House on Private Members' Fridays.

Unknown said...

I'm amazed that people are questioning Iain's sources about the voting record. We all know that Iain has been around Westminster for a little while. Therefore when I see that he has written down part of the voting record as "MariaEllwood, Mr. TobiasFabricant, MichaelFitzpatrick, JimFlint, CarolineFollett", he has quite clearly copied and pasted some info from the web rather than watched who seemed to be coming from where on BBC Parliament. It's hardly spot the ball now is it?

Anonymous said...

Bunch of disingenuous toads.

Every day MPs from all Parties want to extend their insidious tentacles into our lives; ID card, CCTV, RFID, DNA etc - all under the banner of

If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear

What do MPs have to hide eh?

Do they have a single example of being forced to disclose third party communications?

The Tory Party should be ashamed for letting one of their own putting this idea forward and do nothing to combat it.

Tony said...

Anonymous @ 11:59 "Nonsense. The Government does not control debating time in the House on Private Members' Fridays."

If you believe that then please explain how a Private Members Bill had effectively been talked out but was due to reappear just a week later because no less than six other Bills "were not ready" to be debated. It is pretty much unheard of for a private Bill to come back, let alone so quickly.

The Bill was then deferred to Friday last - when just by chance there were enough Labour members like Tom Watson around to vote it through.

Is it not strange that this Bill among hundreds, if not thousands over the years, uniquely seems to have some kind of Lazarus quality to it? No Government influence? Really?

Anonymous said...

As someone who was similarly tracking the debate on Hansard, I must be part of the sinister Tory conspiracy as well.

What makes this post doubly unfortunate is that I recall Richard Shepherd putting all this in its historical context in his speech on Friday, pointing out that until the 18th century, it was actually illegal to disclose the debates in Parliament. It is clear from Tom Watson's outburst that he'd quite like to see a return to that era.

Anonymous said...

Did Tom ' no stranger to a pie' Watson EVER have 'the plot.' Can't lose it , if you never had it in the first place!

Anonymous said...

I would suggest we all write to our own MP. either asking them why they did not vote, or if they did vote to justify the way they voted.
When we have all got our replies, I suggest some enterprising blogger publishes the replies.
See how they like that!

Anonymous said...

barnacle_bill, a very good idea. Somehow, I don't hold out much hope of many of them replying.

Anonymous said...

Like Presscott:A Toad in Form and Fact

Hywel said...

"Do they have a single example of being forced to disclose third party communications?"

I'm unaware of an example being cited in Parliamentary debates.

One example cited at committee stage concerned disclosure of information by the Law Society. It revealed a lot about MPs understanding of this area that it was not recognised that the Law Society isn't covered by FoI legislation but acting in accordance with it's own guidance.

Fraser Kemp referred to an attempt to get access to information about a migrant family but wasn't explict about whether it was disclosed so I suspect not.