Top Corbyn aide confirms departure and says it has been an 'honour and privilege'

Posted On: 
24th March 2017

Jeremy Corbyn’s trade union liaison manager has described it as an “honour and privilege” to work for the Labour leader – as she confirmed she is quitting his office. 

Three senior members of Jeremy Corbyn's team are leaving
Credit: 
PA Images

Nancy Platts is one of three top members of staff – alongside media spokesman Matt Zarb-Cousin and head of stakeholder engagement Jayne Fisher – leaving posts in the Leader of the Opposition’s office, as reported by PoliticsHome this morning.

They are the latest in a long list of senior workers who have quit the Labour leader’s operation in recent months.

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Ms Platts, who was Labour’s candidate for Brighton Kemptown at the last election, is taking up a role with Campaign Collective, a social enterprise that gives advice on communications to charities.

Confirming her departure, she said: “It has been an honour and a privilege to work for Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour leadership, but the time has come for me to move on.

"The Labour party has been a large part of my life for nearly twenty years – from grassroots activist, then twice as a parliamentary candidate and now the Leader's Office. It has been a journey fuelled by a passion and belief in the trade union and Labour movement and I feel fortunate to have met and worked with so many dedicated and talented people.

“I will continue to support Jeremy’s leadership and want to thank him for giving me such an incredible opportunity – it has been an experience I will always value.”

Sources said Ms Fisher, who only joined the team in January, and Mr Zarb-Cousin are leaving because of "health reasons".

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."

DAVID PRESCOTT

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."