The how do you explain that to a 10-year old edition

Your weekly update from Tom Watson MP, deputy leader of the Labour Party. 

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There are times when Westminster doesn't have to be a bear pit of party confrontation, when good laws are passed with the support of members from all sides. Friday should have been a great example.

Lib Dem MP Wera Hobhouse's Private Members Bill would have made it illegal to take photographs up women's skirts. With the support of the Labour benches and government ministers, it should have gone through on the nod.

But one lone man, Sir Christopher Chope OBE, Tory MP for Christchurch, stepped forward and with one shout of "Object", the Bill fell.

I hope Chope gets to ponder the musings of a very special ten year old, who sent me a poster soon after she heard. And I hope the voters of Christchurch cast this Stone Age man into oblivion at the next opportunity.

Chope was ably assisted by another Tory MP Philip Davies during the afternoon. Another excellent Bill they nearly crushed with their wrecking ball tactics was my colleague Steve Reed's "Seni's Law", which would control the use of force in mental health units.  Fortunately, it did pass report stage.

The Nasty Party was truly out in full force.

Betting and backsliding 

In the spirit of party co-operation, you may recall my recent praise for Sports minister Tracey Crouch for standing up to the betting industry and reducing the maximum stake on fixed-odds-betting-terminals from £100 to £2.

Well, guess what? The Treasury has now managed to grant the industry a two-year stay of execution - a pathetic move from a fundamentally weak government.

Those campaigners  who praised the government now feel badly let down. The Tories are already rolling back on their promises and allowing these machines to ruin more lives.

Musings with Nick

I really like the format of podcasts.I'm listening to more and more, particularly on health and nutrition.  And chatting away to the BBC's Nick Robinson felt like a cross between appearing on Desert Island Discs and On The Pyschiatrist's Couch.

I ended up talking about my communist grandma, Rupert Murdoch in my bins, Britain's Brexit dilemma, and how a massive transformational government led by Jeremy Corbyn can fix our broken political economy.

And some comments I made about Len McCluskey made some headlines

Maybe I relaxed too much!

Seeking the truth

Four years ago I raised the suggestion that Margaret Thatcher's government had colluded with India around the military raid on Sri Harmandir Sahib, known to many as the Golden Temple in Amritsar in 1984.

The government has repeatedly resisted calls to declassify crucial documents, which may explain the motive and extent of our collusion in the Operation Blue Star raid.

The government has lost a court ruling and must now make these documents public. This is a highly significant and important ruling. We can no longer hide Britain's role in these terrible events.

It has been a source of deep hurt to the British Sikh community for the past four years that Britain could have played a role in the terrible massacre of 1984. If the government appeals against this decision it will be a cowardly attempt to hide the truth.

My MP colleagues Preet Kaur Gill and Tan Dhesi will say more on this matter in the days and weeks ahead.

That's the way to do it Jeremy


On Tuesday I went to the launch of a brilliant new book: (Yes, I've mentioned it before!), Punch & Judy Politics: An Insiders' Guide to Prime Minister's Questions.

The following day Jeremy's opening question was up there with the all-time greats.

I've made a short video - with sub-titles. Hope you like it!

Parents performing

Parents in the Performing Arts, is launching the UK’s biggest ever survey of work/life balance in the performing arts. 'Balancing Act: Work/Life Survey’ aims to reveal the biggest challenges to juggling caring responsibilities and working in Dance, Music, Opera and Theatre, as well as identifying the most effective strategies for change. If you feel you have something to contribute, they would love to hear from you here. 

Rotting cake


First Nigel Lawson applied for residency in France. Now Jacob Rees Mogg's investment firm - which pays him £16,000-a-month for 30 hours work - has set up in Ireland, and warned clients about the dangers of the hard Brexit he advocates.

The stench from the rotten cake-and-eat-it posse just gets worse.


Vets for victory

Almost three weeks ago, together with the Daily Mirror and BNTVA, I launched a campaign for a medal for Britain's nuclear test heroes.

Last week we gained the backing of an astonishing 43 MPs and peers, and on Monday the Defence Secretary agreed to meet the veterans and hear them make their case.

This is an important victory on the road to full recognition, not only of the servicemen who risked their lives for their country, but of the full extent of the risks they were ordered to run.

The crowning of Glenda

As an actor, politician, advocate and now actor again, Glenda Jackson has always been one of the most remarkable women of her time.

Last Sunday, at the age of 82, she completed the Triple Crown of Acting in the US, adding a first Tony to her collections of Oscars and Emmys.

Take another thoroughly deserved bow, Glenda.


Listen to this: 

When the hustle meets the wisdom of the years. Fantastic Negrito, "Please Don't be Dead" came out this week. You will not regret listening to it. Click the pic for spotify link