LABOURS deputy leader Tom Watson announced last night that he was stepping down from his role and will not be running as an MP in the December election.
But who is he and what exactly has he said? Here’s the latest.
Watson has been the MP for West Bromwich East since the 2001 general election
Who is Tom Watson?
Tom Watson, 52, is a British Labour Party politician who was elected as Deputy Leader of the Labour Party in September 2015.
Watson, who was born in Sheffield in 1967, has been the MP for West Bromwich East since the 2001 general election.
Watson was also Minister for Digital Engagement and Civil Service Issues at the Cabinet Office from 2008 to 2009.
In 2011, Ed Miliband appointed Watson as the Deputy Chair of the National Executive Committee and the Labour Party’s Campaign Coordinator for the 2015 general election.
Watson however resigned from both roles in July 2013.
Watson and wife Siobhan split in 2012 – the couple have two children together.
Why has he stepped down?
He announced his decision on Twitter last night, writing: “After 35 years in full-time politics, I’ve decided to step down and will be campaigning to overcome the Tory-fuelled public health crisis. I’m as commited to Labour as ever.
“I will spend this election fighting for brilliant Labour candidates and a better future for our country.”
He said that his decision was “personal not political” and plans to work on public health campaigns.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn thanked Mr Watson for his service, adding: “This is not the end of our work together.”
In his letter to Corbyn, he thanked him”for the decency and courtesy you have shown me over the last four years, even in difficult times”.
He added: “Our many shared interests are less well known than our political differences, but I will continue to devote myself to the things we often talk about” – including gambling regulation, stopping press intrusion and campaigns on public health.
What are the ‘bogus VIP sex abuse claims’?
A damning report by Judge Sir Richard Henriques suggested the Labour deputy leaderpanicked Met detectives into pursuing a baseless rape claimagainst former Home Secretary Lord Brittan.
The Met Police were also accused of institutional stupidity in the scandal.
One of those accused, ex-MP Harvey Proctor,demanded Mr Watson be sacked, and said Met chief Dame Cressida Dick should consider her position.
Details also emerged of the Witchfinder General Mr Watsons role in Operation Midland, the bungledVIP sex abuse inquiry.
Mr Watson refused to apologise and accused the judge of inaccuracies.
Daniel Janner, son of lateLabourMP Lord Janner anotherBeechvictim said Mr Watson applied pressure on police and should hang his head in shame and resign.
Lord Brittans widow told The Times: The extent of Tom Watsons involvement in this witch-hunt has been laid bare. His subsequent attempts to distance himself show a complete lack of integrity.
He has shown that he is unfit to hold the office of MP.
Tom Watson is a British Labour Party politician who was elected as Deputy Leader of the Labour Party in September 2015
Is he being ousted from the party?
Watson branded the attempt to oust him from the party as a “drive-by shooting”.
Senior party figures had plotted to abolish his post, but the motion was tabled at a meeting of Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) on September 20.
The motion was brought by Jon Lansman, founder of grassroots campaign group Momentum and a key ally of Jeremy Corbyn, but failed to gain the two-thirds majority required.
The NEC confirmed that it will instead carry out a review.
What has he said about Brexit?
Watson has previously caused a rift in his party byby calling for a second referendum before a general election.
He will say: The only way to break theBrexit deadlockonce and for all is a public vote in a referendum. Ageneral election might well fail to solve this chaos.
Watson also called for Labour to unambiguously and unequivocally back Remain.
It cuts across Jeremy Corbyns official policy of triggering a general election as soon as a No Deal Brexit on October 31 is no longer possible.