Former communist Andrew Murray resigns as key adviser to Jeremy Corbyn
A key adviser to Jeremy Corbyn has resigned as Labour prepares to elect its new leader.
Andrew Murray, a former member of the Communist Party of Great Britain and the Communist Party of Britain, has been working part-time in the Labour leader's office since February, 2018.
According to the Financial Times, he will now return full-time to his other role as Unite general secretary Len McCluskey's chief of staff.
Mr Murray was one of the so-called "four Ms" who advised Mr Corbyn - the others being Mr McCluskey, Seumas Milne and Karie Murphy.
His departure is a clear indication that whoever becomes Labour's new leader on 4 April will want to bring in their own team of close confidantes.
Mr Murray's appointment to Mr Corbyn's office two years ago was controversial with Labour MPs, but he won praise for organisational skills and advice he gave the party leader.
Writing for the New Statesman in 2018, he suggested that the "deep state" was working to prevent a Labour election victory.
He said his suspicions were raised by recent newspaper reports about his failure to get a security pass for Parliament nearly a year after applying.
The Mail on Sunday also reported that he has been banned from entering Ukraine for allegedly being part of Vladimir Putin's "global propaganda network".
Mr Murray said at the time: "Call me sceptical if you must, but I do not see journalistic enterprise behind the Mail’s sudden capacity to tease obscure information out of the SBU (Ukrainian security services).
"Yes, they got a copy of an SBU letter allegedly banning me back in June, although it is dated 14 September and does not mention me anyway. Don’t publish what you can’t read guys!
"Someone else is doing the hard work – possibly someone being paid by the taxpayer. I doubt if their job description is preventing the election of a Corbyn government, but who knows?"
He added: "We are often told that the days of secret state political chicanery are long past and we must hope so. But sometimes you have to wonder – this curiously timed episode seems less rooted in a Kiev security scare than in a political stunt closer to home."
His departure from Mr Corbyn's office was welcomed by Labour MPs. Referring to Mr Milne and Ms Murphy, one backbencher told PoliticsHome: "One down, two to go."
PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe