Fresh blow for Jeremy Corbyn as three more aides join exodus from his office

Posted On: 
24th March 2017

Jeremy Corbyn has been hit by a fresh blow after it emerged three of his top aides are joining the exodus from his office.

Jeremy Corbyn has more staff working for him than Ed Miliband had.
PA Images

They include "head of stakeholder engagement" Jayne Fisher, who only joined the Labour leader's team in January after a decade in charge of Sinn Fein's London office.

Media spokesman Matt Zarb-Cousin is standing down less than a year after joining Mr Corbyn's team to return to his former job with the Campaign For Fairer Gambling.

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And Nancy Platts, who failed to win Brighton Kemptown for Labour in the 2015 general election, is quitting as the leader's trade union liaison manager.

Sources said Ms Fisher and Mr Zarb-Cousin are leaving because of "health reasons".

They join a long list of senior staff members who have left the Labour leader's operation in recent months.

Highly-respected Director of Campaigns and Planning, Simon Fletcher, resigned last month, as did his deputy, Jack Smith.

Economic policy chief Mike Hatchett left earlier this month after just a year in the job to return to the civil service.

Head of policy Neale Coleman and deputy chief of staff Anneliese Midgley both resigned last year.

A Labour source said: "I don't think it's much fun up there. People come in thinking they're going to get a seat at the top table, but quickly realise they're never really trusted.

"The junior staff are treated quite badly and live in a state of fear. It's a horrible mix. The churn of people is extraordinary. All the good people end up leaving in the end."


PoliticsHome has also learned that David Prescott - son of former Deputy Prime Minister John - has been removed as Mr Corbyn's speechwriter barely three months after taking up the role.

Sources close to Mr Corbyn said he "failed to find Jeremy's voice".

Mr Prescott will continue working for Mr Corbyn as part of his media team, with specific responsibility for taking charge of Shadow Cabinet messaging.

PoliticsHome has been told he was asked if he wanted to stay on as speech-writer, or role or help support the media team and the Shadow Cabinet, and chose to take on the new post.

His speech-writing duties will be carried out by Seumas Milne, Mr Corbyn's head of communications and strategy, and his policy adviser Andrew Fisher, while Labour search for a full-time replacement.

In an email to Shadow Cabinet members last night,seen by PoliticsHome, Mr Milne said: "David's main role is to liaise between the leader's office media team, you and your staff ... and to ensure media and communications are integrated across the different parts of the operation."

Meanwhile, a meeting of Labour's ruling NEC earlier this week heard that there are 28 members of staff in Mr Corbyn's office, plus four vacancies.

His predecessor, Ed Miliband, had 25 on his staff, although that increased to 28 at the time of the last general election.

A spokesman for Mr Corbyn said: "We do not comment on staffing matters."