This HuffPo article on the last PLP meeting is pretty extraordinary.
Voices were raised at the weekly meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) on Monday as tempers boiled over at briefings that deputy leader Tom Watson had been ‘reckless’ in raising concerns about the grassroots movement.
In the meeting, former PLP chair Dave Watts confronted communications and strategy chief Seumas Milne to say he was “a disgrace”, while Labour MPs attacked Corbyn’s leadership and rallied to Watson’s defence.
Corbyn was seated uneasily between Watson and Scottish leader Kezia Dugdale. “He stared stonily into the distance and didn’t exchange a word with Tom in the 90 minute meeting,” said one source. “The body language was telling, they were like two skittles not ever touching.”
The issue was raised at a heated meeting of the Shadow Cabinet on Monday and Corbyn and Watson agreed a joint statement afterwards on “the need to strengthen party unity”.
But within minutes, a Labour source briefed that Watson had been “slapped down” by Corbyn - with the support of fellow Shadow Cabinet ministers.
Cabinet ministers felt his intervention was a “reckless” attempt to influence Unite’s own election for general secretary, with Corbyn ally Len McCluskey pitted against challenger Gerard Coyne, the source claimed.
But the mood changed when Labour MP John Spellar got up to raised the negative briefing against Watson, who received loud applause from MPs.
Cryer said the attack on Watson “bore no relation” to the Shadow Cabinet meeting, while an angry Lord Watts tore into Milne. Milne replied that Watts was “abusing Labour party staff”.
Wes Streeting said that the Lansman recording confirmed the worst fears that Momentum was seeking to infiltrate the party to take over selections and deselection.
“Every member of the Shadow Cabinet who failed to speak out should search their consciences as they drive the Labour party off a cliff,” he said.
Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry told Streeting to “calm down”, to which he replied “Don’t tell me to calm down!”
Mike Gapes also pointed to the huge Tory lead in the polls. “How can we turn things round if Theresa May calls an election?” he asked. “What is your strategy?”
Chris Leslie asked Corbyn to explain why he had said it would be “absolutely fine” to hold a second independence referendum.
Former minister Ian Austin - who had been frustrated at not being able to quiz the Labour leader directly - told Corbyn it was time for him to “look in a mirror”. “Having a mandate is one thing, actually being able to do the job is another,” he said. Corbyn was a “so-called leader’, he added.
Former PLP chair Lord Watts asked what Corbyn was doing to stop the anonymous, negative briefing being done in his name.
But when it became clear that the Labour leader was not going to answer specific questions put to him, backbencher Neil Coyle started shouting from the back of the meeting that it wasn’t good enough.
“When are you going to end the backstabbbing briefings by your staff?” he asked. The meeting was then ended amid more shouting.
They spend more time and effort briefing against each other than the Tories. It's like that Monty Python sketch about the Judean People's Front vs the People's Front of Judea.