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Voters saw through the 'lies of the Rupert Murdoch machine', Tom Watson says

Labour's deputy leader criticised the Tory campaign

Jon Stone
Political Correspondent
Friday 09 June 2017 01:48 BST
Tom Watson, deputy Labour leader
Tom Watson, deputy Labour leader (BBC)

The British public "saw through the lies of the Murdoch machine" that tried to "frighten" people into voting for the Tories, Labour's deputy leader has said.

Addressing his constituents at the count for his West Bromwich East seat, Mr Watson tore into Theresa May, branding her campaign one of the most "negative, defensive, and pessimistic" in British history.

He was speaking after the election's exit poll showed the Tories losing their majority, in a shock result.

"She said she was strong and stable, the public saw she was weak and wobbly. She said she was a bloody difficult woman, she boasted about it, the public saw that she was just a woman who was finding it all a bit too bloody difficult," he said.

He added: "Labour fought a people-powered campaign, putting passion and principle against the Tories’ corporate millions and we did better than many said we would.

"People responded well to Jeremy Corbyn’s energy, honesty, candour, and energy – just as they saw Theresa May run away from holding herself to account.

"They saw through the lies of the Murdoch machine who tried to frighten people into voting Tory."

Papers owned by News UK, Mr Murdoch's company, tended to endorse the Conservatives during the campaign.

The Sun newspaper featured a lurid election day front page featuring Jeremy Corbyn living in a rubbish bin, because his name rhymes with "bin".

Mr Watson has had a mixed relationship with party leader Mr Corbyn, with reports of a split between the two behind the scenes.

The deputy leader was all but invisible during the general election campaign.

In the 2010-2015 Parliament West Bromwich East MP was at the forefront of the campaign against phone hacking and came to blows with Mr Murdoch's newspapers.

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