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Labour frontbencher Lloyd Russell-Moyle steps down over 'torrent of online hate'
16 July 2020, 20:33
MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle has stepped down from the Labour frontbench, saying he had been the victim of a "torrent of online hate".
The Brighton Kemptown and Peacehaven MP's departure from the shadow cabinet is the latest exit of an ally of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Sir Keir Starmer, who replaced Mr Corbyn after the party's disastrous general election, thanked Mr Russell-Moyle for his work as minister for air quality and the natural environment.
Mr Russell-Moyle said he told Sir Keir of his intention to stand down and support him from the backbenches on Thursday afternoon.
"It is with regret I leave the shadow ministry, but owing to a campaign by the right-wing media my position has become untenable," the MP said in a statement.
This afternoon I spoke to Keir and asked to step back from the front bench duties as Minister for Air Quality and the Natural Environment but remain a Labour and Co-operative MP for Brighton Kemptown and Peacehaven.— Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP🌹🇪🇺🏳️🌈 (@lloyd_rm) July 16, 2020
See my statement below. 👇 pic.twitter.com/g1I8T7QLVg
"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 has also led to hounding and stress, from which I need a few weeks to support my team and myself to collectively recover."
"It is my job to get political flack, but it is not the job of caseworkers, researchers 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."
A Labour spokesman said: ""Lloyd spoke to Keir Starmer this afternoon and informed him of his decision to step back from front bench duties."
"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."
In his lengthy resignation statement, Mr Russell-Moyle also said: "I am here to represent all my constituents and I am grateful to all those who voted for me, and to the people who believe Labour can make our country a fair, better happier place for all of us.
"I remain incredibly proud of the work I have done in parliament in the past three years and I an proud of my role in holding the government to account on immoral arms sales to Saudi Arabia, chairing the All—Party Parliamentary Group on Youth
"Affairs which conducted the first wide ranging parliamentary inquiry into Youth Services in 10 years, and in helping to lead the charge on tenants’ and renters’ rights.
"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.