Labour Conference 2016 Liverpool
Tom Watson, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, speaks on the third day of the conference in Liverpool Darren Staples/Reuters

Jeremy Corbyn looked on as Tom Watson gave a barnstorming defence of Tony Blair, capitalism and Labour's need to win elections, as the deputy leader addressed the party's annual conference in Liverpool this evening (27 September).

Watson urged Labour members to stop "trashing" the party's record in government, declaring that the 11 years under Labour were an "uninterrupted period of growth".

He also argued that "capitalism is not the enemy", just a day after Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell vowed to bring back "socialism".

The West Bromwich East MP also said a Labour female prime minister was "long overdue", after he claimed Conservative premier Theresa May "hasn't got what it takes" to be prime minister.

Watson, elsewhere, praised Mayor of London Sadiq Khan as a "champion", drawing heckles from the audience over his failure to mention newly re-crowned Corbyn.

In fact, the biggest reference to the left-winger was a joke on "Saturday night's result".

"Whatever you think of that man, whatever he's done, how can Ed Balls be bottom of the leader board?" Watson quipped, citing the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing show.

David Cameron was another target of Watson's speech. "[He] has created the biggest political, financial and diplomatic mess in modern British history – and he's just walked away to write his million pound memoirs."

The speech won Watson a standing ovation from the conference hall and came just hours after Khan, a supporter of failed leadership challenger Owen Smith, urged Labour to focus on winning power.

"Conference, with Labour in power, your home and your commute get more affordable, the air you breathe gets less polluted, you get better pay and conditions at work, our businesses are supported to grow, and new jobs are created," he said.

Corbyn, who was re-elected with almost 62% of the vote on Saturday (24 September) will give the final address of conference tomorrow afternoon. The Labour leader has promised to "wipe the slate clean" and called for unity in the wake of his victory.