Tom Watson MP: Resignation

Dear Gordon,

The sense of privilege I have felt as one of your Ministers since 2007 hardly needs stating. But I also want to tell you what an enormous pleasure it has been. In 18 months at the Cabinet Office I would like to think that I have helped our government to think about information in new and better ways. I have tried to be a champion for the digital community, where lie some of our best and brightest talents and much of our nation’s future success.

You are a politician completely dedicated to the service of the public, and a man of the very highest personal integrity. I have seen how the application of courage and commitment to patient, measured intelligence makes good government. As Chancellor of the Exchequer for a decade, you led this country’s economic rebirth. In defiance of world economic cycles, you led us through a period of sustained growth and prosperity which is unprecedented in our history. As Prime Minister you have led the world’s response to the gravest economic crisis it has ever known.

However spitefully your character is traduced and your triumphs degraded by Labour’s enemies, they can never erase these towering achievements to your name. To have had the opportunity to serve the public as one of your Ministers has been an honour, for which I thank you.

As I told you some time ago, though, I feel that the time has come, at the reshuffle, for me to return to the backbenches and to my constituency. The pressure on my young family has been painful and I do not want to ask them to endure it any longer.

I would still like to make a contribution as a campaigner, helping you to lead Labour into the next general election, which I know we both believe Labour can and must win. We both came into politics for the same reasons; a passionate belief in decency, justice and fairness for ordinary people and an equally certain conviction that only Labour has the courage and the competence to make it happen.

That is why I will remain alongside you as we fight and win the next election under your leadership. Though not, with some wistful regret, as a member of your government.


#1 Simon Dickson on 06.05.09 at 2:56 pm

Goodbye Tom, and thank you. It’s almost ridiculous to look back at the (minimal) achievements of your predecessors in the E-Gov Minister role, compared to the connection you made with us over a remarkably short space of time.

I’ve got a young family myself, and I genuinely couldn’t grasp how you could juggle the many roles you accumulated. This is clearly the right decision for you. And anyway, The Gruffalo is so much more inspiring than anything that comes in a Red Box.

Just put in a good word for us all with your successor, whoever that may be. You’vee left one hell of a hard act to follow.

#2 Ron Gordon on 06.05.09 at 2:58 pm

Shame you felt you had to go but great letter. If only there were more loyalists like you .

#3 Jenny Brown on 06.05.09 at 3:07 pm

All the very best Tom.

#4 » Tom Watson’s resignation letterLiberal Conspiracy on 06.05.09 at 3:08 pm

[…] cross-posted from Tom Watson’s blog · About the author: This is a guest post. · Other posts by Guest · About this […]

#5 Jeremy on 06.05.09 at 3:12 pm

We met on, and you wrote to me, and I’ve been following your blog since. I’m sorry to see you resign, but I entirely respect and support your efforts to disassociate yourself with the prime minister and head back to a more supportive and perhaps more progressive Labour party.

your colleague from the electronic village.

#6 Miller 2.0 on 06.05.09 at 3:15 pm

Well at least this one isn’t full of nonsensical attacks…

Still, your brief will suffer without you.

#7 Neil Williams on 06.05.09 at 3:22 pm

Thanks for everything Tom, you’ve built us a great foundation.

#8 Neil Franklin on 06.05.09 at 3:29 pm

The twitterverse salutes you. Thanks for giving digital people a leg-up in Government.

@Simon – Haven’t got the Gruffalo yet… As soon as I’ve finished the Hungry Caterpillar, I’m there!

#9 paul canning on 06.05.09 at 3:33 pm

Thanks for all your work Tom. It’s a pity you cannot pick your successor!

#10 tony Watson on 06.05.09 at 3:38 pm

Well done .I feel very proud to be your dad.

#11 Whitehall Webby on 06.05.09 at 3:40 pm

A sad day for all geeks in government. Thanks for all you did. You’ll be missed.

#12 davidjwbailey on 06.05.09 at 3:47 pm

Tom, hold head high and play with the children (and some geeky toys) over the summer. You really engaged with the world of social media, technology and fast growth startups. You earned our respect for that, and that respect will travel with you.

#13 Joanne Jacobs on 06.05.09 at 4:16 pm

All the best, Tom. Hope you may still be able to participate in the digital engagement projects out there all across the UK.

#14 Tom Clarke on 06.05.09 at 4:25 pm

While I may not have agreed with that many things the government you served in did, you clearly knew about – and loved – what you were doing. Good luck.

#15 Zahoor Hussain on 06.05.09 at 4:50 pm

All the best Tom, enjoy time with your young family and keep up with the blogging!

#16 RobT on 06.05.09 at 4:52 pm


A tough decision, and one which Labours enemies will no doubt twist to serve their own purpose.

Enjoy the time with your family, and keep on fighting for what you believe in.


#17 Merlin John on 06.05.09 at 5:11 pm

Enjoyed coming across you at Games Based Learning 09 – finally, a politician who could walk the walk – so I’m saddened by your premature departure. All the best to you in what comes next.

#18 Linda on 06.05.09 at 5:20 pm

I’m with your dad on this one. Well done son.

#19 Joe Wilson on 06.05.09 at 5:25 pm

What a well written heart-felt letter. Digital Britain agenda will help move economy on expect to see you back in this arena soon.

Sure you’ll stay in twitterdom


#20 Benjamin Ellis on 06.05.09 at 5:57 pm

Thank you for what you achieved on behalf of those with a passion to see technology used to drive greater engagement with government. You made a significant difference.

#21 William on 06.05.09 at 6:03 pm

Tom: I think your work as Minister will prove to be the early stirrings of some really fundamental change. I’m sure it will be carried forward. Well done & thanks.

#22 Paul Clarke on 06.05.09 at 6:33 pm

Tom, you’ve shaken things up in a way I’ve never seen before, but always for the right reason – to make good stuff happen.

Having been in the direct line of that at times has been *exciting* to say the least… Now it’s time for you to get on your bike (and you know what I mean when I say that – there’s still one with your name on whenever you get the opportunity).

Thanks for all you’ve done, the environment you’ve generated, and the inspiration you’ve provided.


#23 Sion Simon on 06.05.09 at 6:46 pm

well done tommy. i’m proud of you too.

#24 Tom Hughes-Croucher on 06.05.09 at 7:42 pm

Sad to see you go, but I’m glad you’ve set the bar. You also have an excellent reason. Good for you.

#25 TimHood on 06.05.09 at 9:10 pm

Hi Tom
Genuinely sorry to see you go from the post, as are many people.

I can’t imagine many ministers getting to know their sector so well, or being able to say they raised the profile of an industry to such an extent. I’m sure it will all be to the benefit of your constituency and your family- good luck.


#26 Jon Mulholland on 06.05.09 at 10:36 pm

Great letter Tom, although it’s a real shame to see you leave the government.

Congratulations for all you have achieved in office, you have certainly succeed in making a connection with the technology community in the UK and have many positive achievements to be proud off.

Wishing you all the best with your family and your constituency.

#27 Rachel Clarke on 06.06.09 at 7:19 am

It’s a shame to see you go, thanks for all the work you’ve done in the digital space. All the best for you and your family.

#28 Wilf Flynn on 06.06.09 at 7:59 am

Your letter says you’ve gone for the right reasons, so good luck mate stay focused for a Labour future.

#29 Lesley and Andrew on 06.06.09 at 10:28 am

Well done Tom. It was particularly encouraging to read the real reasons why you are passionate about politics. There has been so much recently come to light that has solely been about personal gain and greed. Wishing you the very best in everything you do in the future. If you continue keep the main reason – the main reason – you will continue to do great. Bless you Tom.
Lesley and Andrew.

#30 FutureGov » Useful links » links for 2009-06-06 on 06.06.09 at 2:01 pm

[…] Tom Watson MP: Resignation | Tom Watson MP (tags: government blogs tomwatson digitalbritain gov20) […]

#31 Angela Belardinelli on 06.06.09 at 10:28 pm

Hi Tom
Good luck in the future whatever you do!
I hope you and the family are well.
Very best wishes
Angela Belardinelli (Alex’s Mum.)

#32 brummytaff on 06.07.09 at 9:45 am

Hello Tom

It was good to meet you last Saturday in West Bromwich at the searchlight leaflet drop. Now I know why you looked surprisingly relaxed!

Having a high profile MP is fine but local issues in West Bromwich need attending as well so glad that you will have more time to look at some of the scandals around thePublic Arts Centre and general lack of amenities for children and families in our constituency and your voice would be welcome. It may not have the sexiness and cut and thrust of westminster but I suspect the Black Conutry people are a lot more real! As a relatively recent import from London I certainly find it so.

The next year will be vital if we are to rescue anything from the current mire the party is in.

The historical precedents from the Tories in the 1990’s to Labour in the 1980’s show that uncommitted people do not vote for divided parties and the vast majority of the electorate are floating ( if not drowning)

I am torn between rallying around Gordon or starting afresh . For me. its a fifty/fifty call. I will be at the UNISON National Conference in Brighton from June 15th so will have a broader sense of the feelings around, but who knows , it may be all over by then!

So have a more relaxing time in West Brom ( dog walking around Sandwell Valley is highly recommended) keep the blog going ( perhaps a little less esotric though please) and thanks for resigning in such a respectful way…others could have learned from it!

#33 Mo on 06.07.09 at 11:14 pm

I can only echo what others have said. I think you should be held up as a shining example of *how to engage* with people–something you’ve done a sterling job of over the past few years.

I hope you, and your family, enjoy the relative peace and quiet of being a “ordinary” MP!

#34 Media « Five by Five on 06.08.09 at 10:15 am

[…] MP to blog has resigned, first breaking the news of his resignation to his followers on Twitter.  He did not use his letter as a platform to beat Prime Minister Gordon Brown, of whom he is a close ally, but cited family […]

#35 Anne McCrossan on 06.09.09 at 11:15 pm

Tom I’m a friend of Mike Baldwin’s and an electronic twitter friend and admirer of yours.

I totally appreciate what you’ve been doing and agree with Miller 2.0 that your brief will suffer without you.

You’re a great champion of digital engagement who’s led by example and earned the respect of many.

#36 Alan Farrell on 06.10.09 at 3:19 pm

It is necessary for every one to realize that the media are keen to get rid of Gordon Brown and install their new “Blue Eyed Boy” in politics , Mr David Cameron . Of course it is not important to them that David Cameron will try and continue where Margaret Thatcher left off , and that is closing down Nursing homes and hospitals due to their lack of profitability . How ever Mr Cameron is being hailed by the media as the “champion” of the working man and being deviously being portrayed as the new Tony Blair , when in fact he is a creation out of Thatcherism , and would be the younger version of Margaret Thatcher , who helped in doing nothing to try and rebuild British Industry , but just encourage cheap foreign imports like Rupert Murdoch and Ian MacGregor, who only helped themselves to creating further unemployment in the UK . The Truth of the matter is that the Conservative party have no new policies and will simply increase unemployment in the UK. What the Labour party are failing to do is to project that truth to the general public as the party does not appear to have the influential friends in the media that David Cameron quite blatantly appears to have . If the Labour party are unable to revitalize itself to the real issues , and stop licking self inflicted wounds which the Conservative party and the far right are reveling in , then Labour will truly lose the next general election in a humiliating fashion , causing even further chaos by leaving the country in the hands of a Margaret Thatcher clone who is as pretentious as his smile .

#37 Catching up | DavePress on 06.13.09 at 12:04 pm

[…] sad news that Tom Watson has resigned from his position as Minister for (amongst other things) Digital Engagement. He pushed this agenda […]

#38 Why it's great that Tim Berners-Lee is advising the British Government. | Podnosh Blog on 06.14.09 at 8:32 pm

[…] intervention” to a data muddle, while Paul Canning echoes that, hoping that (with the departure of Tom Watson from the Cabinet Office) Sir Tim might be able to act as a data […]

#39 Katie Gathercole (McElroy) on 06.15.09 at 11:17 am

Hi Tom, Sorry to hear you have resigned. I’m sure you wouldn’t have taken such a decision lightly. Sometimes you’ve got to seek out and prioritise what is truley important in life and it sounds like you’ve done just that. Hope life is treating you and your family well. Take care, Katie.

#40 Pam Loughran on 06.16.09 at 10:14 pm

Hi Tom, recently discovered that you moved on to bigger and better things (possibly!!) after the glamour and gloss of advertising. It’s nice to see that you stayed true to your Kiddie roots though, the Cabinets loss is local politics gain, I am sure. I share Katie’s sentiments and hope life is treating you well.
All the best, Pam

#41 Links of the Week – 11 June 2009 on 07.04.09 at 3:19 pm

[…] minister Tom Watson blogs his resignation letter and reveals Angela E. Smith (the last Local eGov minister) will be his […]

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