What’s Watson up to?

The Mother of all Parliaments returns from summer recess today and eager MPs have tabled the first batch of Written Parliamentary Questions in their mission to hold Ministers of the Crown to account.

Re-joining them in this role as a backbencher is ministerial resignee and alleged coup plotter Tom Watson. And he has tabled his first WPQs of the new Parliamentary term:

Mr Tom Watson (West Bromwich East):To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the (a) diary commitments and (b) travel arrangements were for the Under Secretary of State for Defence and Minister for Veterans for the week beginning Sunday 3rd September.
Mr Tom Watson (West Bromwich East):To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what understanding his Department had with the Under Secretary of State for Defence and Minister for Veterans about how he would travel from his holiday in Scotland to his official engagements on Wednesday 6th September.

As you can see, he is tabling Questions about the movements of the Under Secretary of State for Defence in the fateful week in September. And who was the Under Secretary of State for Defence on these dates? Well, it was…Tom Watson himself.

We can only assume that he wishes to get something about the week on to the public record. Either that, or this is a great way to demand your last week’s travel expenses from a former employer. Either way, we will watch for the Written Answers to these with some interest.


11 Responses to What’s Watson up to?

  1. Timbob says:

    I worry of people’s sanity when they speak of themselves in the third person, but to write it down in the first person is a new one. Basically it translates as ‘can someone please tell me what I was meant to be doing while I was bringing down the elected Prime Minister’.

  2. Bob Piper says:

    I suspect it is TW trying to tease out the fact that his visit to Scotland was not for the purpose of visiting Gordon Brown as part of some alleged plot to ‘bring down the elected Prime Minister’ as timbob terms it. Why is it that Blairites are so sensitive? Blair is the elected Party Leader, not the elected Prime Minister, and I can see no earthly reason why MPs can not express a view as to whether he should resign or not, particularly in a private letter to the PM himself. If a Blairite like John Reid publicly calls for Blair to continue the same degree of spite doesn’t seem to be heaped on his head.

  3. Timbob says:

    Sorry Bob, I thought Tom was on holiday in a plush hotel and popped in to shower gifts on Gordon’s little one during that week. Was the taxpayer funding this excursion during this ‘official business’?

    It’s one thing expressing a view, it’s another thing cynically co-ordinating resignations.

    I’m sorry, when I was canvassing at the last election the public were under the impression that Tony was was standing for a full-term as Prime Minister. Should we have added a footnote that it was ‘subject to terms and conditions as laid down by people you’ve never heard of’?

  4. Matthew says:

    Timbob, I don’t know where you were campaigning last time around, but where I was, Labour people were motivated by the fact that they could ‘vote Blair, get Brown’. Our campaigning was on its last legs with Milburn and Blair in charge, and only got going once Brown took control of the campaign. I am not a Brownite, and do not plan to vote for him in the leadership election, but that was the reality round my way.

  5. Ian G says:

    It’s a crazy world when I find myself defending Tom Watson’s machinations, but the events of that week were probably for the best.

    There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that conference would have had a very different, and far less pleasant, atmosphere if Blair hadn’t been forced into declaring that it would be his last conference.

    I must say I find it infuriating when those in the Blair camp complain about disloyalty. How about some loyalty to the party from them? As Bob says, the idea that party members shouldn’t express a view on whether the party leader should remain in office is bonkers, especially since it was Blair himself who made this situation inevitable.

  6. HenryG says:

    I really don’t think it’s in anyone’s interests to dwell on recent events. We should move on, Tom included.

  7. Gert says:

    Strange, at the last General Election I could have sworn I voted Keith Hill.

    I don’t recall either Tony Blair or Gordon Brown being on the ballot paper

  8. Benjamin says:

    Quite bizarre. Perhaps Tom himself could clear things up in a reply in this thread?

  9. Benjamin, I don’t think we’re important enough to have Tom as a reader

  10. Cole-in says:

    Back to the topic in hand, what if he’s just forgotten? This might turn out to be a valuable resource for us all, eg:

    “To ask the Secretary of State what the (a) diary commitments and (b) travel arrangements where for my self between the hours of 1am and 4am on Sat 7th October; and if he will identify the origins of both a cash machine receipt for £150 and the phone number written on the back of it.”

  11. Ian G says:

    Cole-in, one could argue that with present government thinking, they will soon know all the answers to such questions!

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