The deputy leader insists that the party can be unified and says MPs who oppose Jeremy Corbyn must stay and fight

Tom Watson is a peculiarity. Labour’s deputy leader is the only nonbeliever who was in Jeremy Corbyn’s first shadow cabinet and is still sitting there – much turmoil and many waves of resignations later.

This does not mean he is trusted by the Corbynites, many of whom have regarded him as a sworn enemy since the attempt to oust the Labour leader two summers ago. Yet Watson insists that their relationship is a good one. “Despite what people say. We text regularly. We talk about the kids. We usually have a lot of football talk. One thing we agree on is that we should spend less time in each other’s company at NEC [national executive committee] meetings, because the last one was nine and a half hours and it was torture.”

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