Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger and Labour's Tom Watson clash on Twitter

The Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger has clashed with former Cabinet Office minister Tom Watson over the paper's recent editorial calling for Gordon Brown to stand down.

Tom Watson: former Brown aide
Tom Watson: former Brown aide

The two argued their corners live on twitter this morning, after Rusbridger hit out at the Daily Mail’s coverage of the Guardian editorial.

Rusbridger tweeted: ‘Daily Mail obsessed with idea of Guardian "putsch" (in collusion with BBC?). A question of media ethics, apparently.’

Watson, a close aide of Gordon Brown, immediately tweeted back: ‘The Daily Mail are not the only people concerned. Many colleagues think you should report the news not make it.’

Rusbridger responded: ‘Er, so newspapers should stop writing editorials? Hmmm'

Moments later, Watson hit back: ‘Of course not but you have a unique status on the centre left. Why irritate your loyalists without allowing all sides a say?’

Rusbridger continued to defend his paper, saying: ‘So you didnt read Freedland or Milne or Bunting or McDonnell or Blunkett - all saying (in the Guardian) Brown should stay?’

Watson responded: ‘The only thing you haven't done is publish his obituary. Be under no illusion that Labour readers think you have gone OTT.’

But the spat didn't end there. At 11.38am, Rusbridger tweeted: 'Love the thought of "labour readers" - as if they all think the same!'

At 1140am, Watson finally signalled that a truce could be forthcoming, with the use of an emoticon: 'I know all of them in West Bromwich and they agree with me ;-) Love what you've done to paper but last week was too much.'

Soon after, Rusbridger invited Watson to discuss the issue with senior Guardian journalists: 'Come into Guardian conference and debate it! :-)'

At 11.50am, the war appeared to be over, as Watson accepted the invitation. He tweeted: '*gulps* Head into lion's mouth. I gladly accept. Thank you.'


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