Independence day resignation letter

Ed Miliband MP

Leader of the Opposition

House of Commons




4nd July 2013

Dear Ed,

I said that I’d stay with you as general election co-ordinator within the Shadow Cabinet as long as I was useful. I think it would be a good idea for you, and me, if I stood down from the role now.

As you know, I offered my resignation on Tuesday and you asked me to reconsider. I’ve thought about it and still feel it is better for you and the future unity of the party that I go now. There are some who have not forgiven me for resigning in 2006. I fully accept the consequences of that decision and genuinely hope my departure allows the party to move on.

Yet it’s not the unattributed shadow cabinet briefings around the mess in Falkirk that has convinced me that the arrangement has run its course (though they don’t help). I believe that the report should be published – in full – and the whole truth told as soon as possible so that the record can be made clear. I’ve still not seen the report but believe there are an awful lot of spurious suppositions being written.

I wish to use the backbenches to speak out in areas of personal interest: open government and the surveillance state, the digital economy, drones and the future of conflict, the child abuse inquiries, the aftermath of the Murdoch scandal and grass roots responses to austerity.

Having resigned a couple of times before, I know how puckish lobby hacks might choose to misconstrue the departure. So to make it harder for them let me say this: I’m proud of your Buddha-like qualities of patience, deep thought, compassion and resolve. I remain your loyal servant. I’ll always be on hand to help you if you need me. I just don’t think you need me in the Shadow Cabinet any more. After nearly thirty years of this, I feel like I’ve seen the merry-go-round turn too many times. Whereas the Shadow Cabinet’s for people who still want to get dizzy.

You have it in you to be an outstanding Labour Prime Minister. The road ahead is always rocky but I will be with you all of the way, cheering you on from the backbenches. You’re my friend and leader, and I’m going to do all I can to make sure you win in 2015.

Here’s my parting thought:

John Humphrys asked me why you were not at Glastonbury this weekend. I said Labour leaders can’t be seen standing in muddy fields listening to bands. And then I thought how terribly sad that this is true. So: be that great Labour leader that you can be, but try to have a real life too. And if you want to see an awesome band, I recommend Drenge.


Yours sincerely,


Tom Watson

Member of Parliament for West Bromwich East

12 thoughts on “Independence day resignation letter”

  1. So sorry to see you go Tom, but I know you will serve the Party well on the back bench, Best of luck.

  2. Please take great care over your next steps. You have won influence with a lot of people who matter to you as a politician. It will easy for you to lose a great deal. It won’t be easy but you can win a great deal. Good luck.

  3. Tom,

    Sad, but I suspect inevitable. I resigned my Labour Party membership, a few months ago, as you well know. I, like you, will continue to fight for what’s right. Not a Progress agenda though.

    Thanks for all your great work.


  4. In this day integrity and kindness are underrated.
    The vulnerable and those who feel they do not have a say in how our country is run need more real people in Givernment to speak their words and unapologetically take their needs forward.

    Mr Ed appears to have the qualities necessary to represent all people in society.

    The loyalty demonstrated in this letter shows why labour is different from all other parties. As an ordinary member of the public it gives a clear message of integrity.

    This man should be commended for his selfness and desire to help the people of Great Britain through his efforts in parliament and as a member of the labour party.

  5. Dear Mr Watson,

    If only all MPs were as honest as you. Seems that some politicians need to remember their place, but others, like yourself know it.
    Sorry to see you go, but enjoy life.
    And I hope you and others get to Glastonbury, and remember what real life is really like, connect with the people, be at their level!
    Craig Lambie
    Concerned World Citizen 🙂

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