Peter Watt

Peter Martin Watt (born 20 July 1969)[1] was the General Secretary of the Labour Party in the United Kingdom from January 2006 until he resigned in November 2007 as a result of the Donorgate affair. Watt was then a member of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) Executive Board. He is now working for Hammersmith council directing all services relating to children.

Peter Watt
General Secretary of the Labour Party
In office
January 2006 – November 2007
Leader
Preceded byMatt Carter
Succeeded byRay Collins
Personal details
Born20 July 1969 (age 49)
York, England
Political partyLabour

Early and family life

From 1989 to 1992 Watt trained as a nurse at a predecessor institution to Bournemouth University, then worked for Poole Hospital NHS Trust.[1][2]

He is married and, as of 2007, the father of three children as well as a foster carer.[3]

Labour Party

From 1996 he worked for the Labour Party, first as a local organiser for Battersea and Wandsworth, then in Labour Party head office on election delivery and recruitment and then as Regional Director of the Eastern region. In 2004 he gained a Professional Certificate in Management from the Open University.[1]

He returned to the Labour Party head office as Director of Finance and Compliance in 2005, a role that bridges legal and financial party issues and also usually includes a tacit role of enforcing party discipline and sorting out internal disputes. Viewed as loyal to the party leadership, he has on occasion come into conflict with the trade union movement over party policy and organisation, especially apparent at the Labour Party Conference in 2005.

Watt was appointed as general secretary by the Party's National Executive Committee on 7 November 2005. He was not the candidate favoured by Prime Minister and Labour Party leader Tony Blair,[4] but won the NEC vote by some margin.[5][6]

BBC News reported that he resigned as general secretary on 26 November 2007 and he was quoted as saying that he knew about an arrangement by which one individual, David Abrahams, had made a number of donations to the Labour Party through third parties without the fact that he was ultimate donor being reported. He said that he had not appreciated that he had failed to comply with the reporting requirements.[7][8] Watt revealed he had known about the arrangement for about a year.[9] In May 2009 the Crown Prosecution Service decided there was insufficient evidence for any prosecution relating to these events.[10][11][12]

Later career

From March 2008 to December 2010 Watt was Chief Executive of The Campaign Company, a Croydon based communications consultancy.

In January 2010, Watt published the book Inside Out, written with Isabel Oakeshott, describing his experiences as a senior Party official and his time as General Secretary of the Party, which were serialised in the Mail on Sunday.[4][13][14]

In November 2010 it was announced that he would become the Chief Executive of the older people's charity Counsel and Care[15] from 1 February 2011.

On 26 September 2011, Peter joined the NSPCC as Director of Child Protection, Advice and Awareness, on the NSPCC Executive Board.[16] In this role, he is responsible for leading the NSPCC's work to raise awareness of and increase support for child protection among the general public and key adult audiences. His role includes being Head of the NSPCC's Helpline.[17]

In September 2011, Peter Contributed to What next for Labour? Ideas for a new generation, his piece was entitled 'Building a party for the future'.[18]

Bibliography

  • Watt, Peter; Oakeshott, Isabel (2010). Inside out: my story of betrayal and cowardice at the heart of New Labour. Biteback. ISBN 9781849540384.

References

  1. ^ a b c "WATT, Peter Martin". Who's Who 2010 online edn. Oxford University Press. November 2009. Retrieved 17 January 2010.
  2. ^ James Kirkup (29 November 2007). "Peter Watt, head of the party machine". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 6 December 2007.
  3. ^ "Money problems cost Watt his job". BBC. 27 November 2007. Retrieved 27 November 2007.
  4. ^ a b Roy Hattersley (13 February 2010). "Inside Out by Peter Watt, with Isabel Oakeshott". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 14 February 2010.
  5. ^ "7 November NEC report – Blair's Gen Sec choice defeated". Socialist Campaign Group News. 8 November 2005. Archived from the original on 6 February 2006. Retrieved 6 December 2007.
  6. ^ Kevin Maguire (6 December 2007). "The whispers". New Statesman. Retrieved 7 December 2007.
  7. ^ "Labour boss quits over donations". BBC. 26 November 2007. Retrieved 26 November 2007.
  8. ^ Peter Watt (27 November 2007). "Statement from Peter Watt". Labour Party. Archived from the original on 30 November 2007. Retrieved 6 December 2007.
  9. ^ Patrick Wintour (1 December 2007). "The 'usual terms' that left Labour in a 'mind-blowing' mess". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 6 December 2007.
  10. ^ "CPS decides no charges over Labour Party donations". Crown Prosecution Service. 7 May 2009. Archived from the original on 19 May 2009. Retrieved 10 May 2009.
  11. ^ Alex Barker and Jim Pickard (7 May 2009). "Prosecutors drop Labour donations probe". Financial Times. Retrieved 10 May 2009.
  12. ^ Isabel Oakeshott (10 May 2009). "'Brutal' Brown sacrificed party chief". London: Sunday Times. Retrieved 10 May 2009.
  13. ^ Peter Watt (16 January 2010). "'I'll bring you down with sleaze'". London: Mail on Sunday. Retrieved 8 February 2010.
  14. ^ "Interview: Ex-Labour General Secretary Peter Watt on Gordon Brown". Daily Politics. BBC. 18 January 2010. Retrieved 8 February 2010.
  15. ^ "Press Release". Counsel and Care. 12 November 2010. Archived from the original on 14 December 2010. Retrieved 21 January 2011.
  16. ^ NSPCC Annual Report 2011/12 (PDF) (Report). NSPCC. 2012. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
  17. ^ "Update: Jimmy Savile child abuse inquiry". NSPCC. 19 October 2012. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
  18. ^ www.whatnextforlabour.com/contributors/
Party political offices
Preceded by
Matt Carter
General Secretary of the Labour Party
2006–2007
Succeeded by
Ray Collins
2000 Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council election

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General Secretary of the Labour Party

The General Secretary of the Labour Party is the most senior employee of the British Labour Party, and acts as the non-voting secretary to the National Executive Committee. When there is a vacancy the National Executive Committee selects a provisional replacement, subject to approval at the subsequent party conference.

Isabel Oakeshott

Isabel Euphemia Oakeshott (born 12 June 1974) is a British political journalist and broadcaster.

She was the political editor of The Sunday Times and is the co-author, with Michael Ashcroft, of an unauthorised biography of former British prime minister David Cameron, Call Me Dave, and of various other non-fiction titles, including White Flag?, an examination of the UK’s defence capability, also written with Lord Ashcroft; Farmageddon, co-authored with Philip Lymbery. Farmageddon has been translated into six languages.

Jack Dromey

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Matt Carter (politician)

Matthew John Carter (born 22 March 1972) is a former General Secretary of the British Labour Party, and now works in the public relations and communications consultancy industry.

Born near Grimsby, Carter studied at Sheffield University and the University of York, and has a DPhil in Political History.

Carter was tutor in the Department of Politics at the University of York from 1994. He subsequently held a number of jobs in the Labour Party, including head of policy, local organiser for Teesside and Durham and regional organiser in South West England during the 2001 general election. As Assistant General Secretary, he set up Forethought, a policy think tank within the Party.In 1997, Carter was a member of Labour's National Policy Forum and parliamentary candidate for the Vale of York. Matt Carter is Labour's youngest General Secretary, appointed to the job aged 31 in December 2003. He took up office on 1 January 2004 succeeding David Triesman, and announced his resignation on 6 September 2005, following the 2005 general election victory.While General Secretary, Carter organised the legal aspects of large loans from individuals to the Labour Party that were central to the Cash for Honours political scandal, while the elected Treasurer, Jack Dromey, was not informed about them. These debts eventually mounted to £24.5 million, and were finally fully repaid in 2015.Carter has written The People's Party: the History of the Labour Party with Tony Wright (1997) and T.H. Green and the Development of Ethical Socialism (2003).

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Ray Collins, Baron Collins of Highbury

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Tony Blair

Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born 6 May 1953) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007. He was Leader of the Opposition from 1994 to 1997. Blair remains the last British Labour Party leader to have won a general election.

From 1983 to 2007, Blair was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Sedgefield. He was elected Labour Party leader in July 1994, following the sudden death of his predecessor, John Smith. Under Blair's leadership, the party used the phrase "New Labour", to distance it from previous Labour policies and the traditional conception of socialism. Blair declared support for a new conception that he referred to as "social-ism", involving politics that recognised individuals as socially interdependent, and advocated social justice, cohesion, the equal worth of each citizen, and equal opportunity, also referred to as the Third Way. Critics of Blair denounced him for bringing the Labour Party towards the perceived centre ground of British politics, abandoning 'genuine' socialism and being too amenable to capitalism. Supporters, including the party's public opinion pollster Philip Gould, stated that (after four consecutive general election defeats) the Labour Party had to demonstrate that it had made a decisive break from its left-wing past, in order to win an election again.In May 1997, the Labour Party won a landslide general election victory, the largest in its history. Blair, at 43 years of age, became the youngest Prime Minister since 1812. In September 1997, Blair attained early personal popularity, receiving a 93% public approval rating, after his public response to the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. The Labour Party went on to win two more general elections under his leadership: in 2001, in which it won another landslide victory, and in 2005, with a greatly reduced majority. During his first term as Prime Minister, his government oversaw a large increase in public spending and introduced the National Minimum Wage Act, Human Rights Act, and Freedom of Information Act. His government also held referendums in which the Scottish and Welsh electorates voted in favour of devolved administration. In Northern Ireland, Blair was involved in negotiating the Good Friday Agreement.

Blair supported the foreign policy of the George W. Bush administration, and ensured that the British Armed Forces participated in the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan and, more controversially, the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Blair has faced criticism for his role in the invasion of Iraq, including calls for having him tried for war crimes and waging a war of aggression; in 2016, the Iraq Inquiry criticised his actions and described the invasion as unjustified and unnecessary.Blair was succeeded as Leader of the Labour Party and as Prime Minister by Gordon Brown in June 2007. On the day that Blair resigned as Prime Minister, he was appointed the official Special Envoy of the Quartet on the Middle East, an office which he held until May 2015. He currently runs the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.

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