Latest Issue

“What is Tommy up to?”: How Tom Watson became Labour’s other leader

Born in Sheffield, Tom Watson rose through Labour's ranks to become deputy under Jeremy Corbyn in 2015. Now, other MPs suspect he is out to split the party. He talks to Kevin Maguire about poetry, weightloss—and doing "what's right"

By Kevin Maguire   May 2019

Tom Watson talks Dante, Brexit, and the notion of a government for national unity. Image: Tim McDonagh

If there’s any truth in Carl von Clausewitz’s aphorism that “war is the continuation of politics by other means” then perhaps Sun Tzu’s The Art of War illuminates Tom Watson’s manoeuvrings.

Watson read the 6th century BC Chinese military strategist’s treatise before he was briefly appointed a junior defence minister in the final government of Tony Blair—a Labour leader he soon helped to bring down. Watson’s allies believe it also partly shaped his tactics in battles with…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect