EXCL Press officer at left-wing union handed top role in Jeremy Corbyn's office
A top communications specialist with a left-wing trade union has been given a senior role in Jeremy Corbyn's office, PoliticsHome has learned.
Richard Simcox has been appointed media spokesman for the Labour leader after quitting the PCS.
Mr Simcox worked for Mr Corbyn's team on a voluntary basis during the general election, but had returned to his role as national press officer for the union, which represents civil servants.
However, PoliticsHome understands he has landed the plum role in the Labour leader's team, although it has not been officially announced. It is unclear whether the role was publicly advertised.
Mr Simcox recently hit out at the “vile personal abuse” Mr Corbyn received during the election.
In 2015 he also came to the defence of Andrew Fisher – the Labour leader's top policy adviser – who was suspended for tweeting his support for a rival party at the last election
Mr Simcox told the Financial Times the suspension – which was later lifted by Labour bosses – was “childish and self-defeating”.
“It is petty factionalism in the party, trying to hound out someone who will be a major asset,” he said.
Mr Simcox's appointment comes after Momentum press officer Sophie Nazemi was also appointed to the party's media team.
A Labour source told PoliticsHome: "They're basically filling the press office with people from hard left unions or Momentum kids with no experience."
PCS boss Mark Serwotka has been a vocal supporter of Mr Corbyn and successfully reapplied to join Labour under its new leader after being expelled 25 years ago.
Mr Simcox refused to comment when contacted by PoliticsHome.
A spokesperson for Labour said: “We don’t comment on staffing matters.”