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Tue, 22 September 2020

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Lloyd Russell-Moyle quits Labour frontbench, blaming 'campaign by right-wing media'

Lloyd Russell-Moyle quits Labour frontbench, blaming 'campaign by right-wing media'

Lloyd Russell-Moyle (Credit: PA)

2 min read

Labour frontbencher Lloyd Russell-Moyle has stepped down from the shadow cabinet, claiming a "right-wing media" campaign has unleashed "a torrent of online hate" against him.

The Brighton MP said he had asked leader Sir Keir Starmer for permission to stand down as shadow minister for the natural environment, after his office staff were subjected to harassment and abuse. 

In a statement posted on Twitter, he added: "It is with regret I leave the shadow ministry, but owing to a campaign by the right-wing media my position has become untenable. 

"This has unleashed a torrent of online hate and daily calls of harassment to my office, which has exposed those who work for me to abuse that would not be acceptable in any workplace.

"It is my job to get political flack, but it is not the job of caseworkers reseachers and assistants to be attacked.

"It has also led to hounding and stress, from which I need a few weeks to support my team and myself to collectively recover."

Mr Russell-Moyle was forced to apologise last month after accusing JK Rowling of using her own sexual assault as “justification for discriminating” in a row over transgender rights.

He faced calls to quit after he said it was wrong to suggest the Harry Potter author “used her own dreadful experience in anything other than good faith”.

He also apologised this weekend after 2017 social media posts suggesting Jewish claims to Israel were "not progressive in [their] very nature" and that Zionism was a "dangerous nationalist idea" emerged. 

Mr Russell-Moyle said he would continue to represent his constiuents and remained "incredibly proud" of the work he had done during his three years as an MP.

He added: "I shall return to the backbenches for the time being to support Keir in defending and furthering the manifesto we stood on and to achieve a Labour government."

A Labour Party spokesperson said: “Lloyd spoke to Keir Starmer this afternoon and informed Keir of his decision to step back from frontbench duties as shadow minister for the natural environment.

"Keir thanked Lloyd for his hard work on the frontbench and wished him well in his plans for the coming months to focus on housing and youth services.”

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