Lloyd Russell-Moyle quits Labour frontbench over ‘campaign by right wing media’

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Lloyd Russell-Moyle quits Labour frontbench over ‘campaign by right wing media’

The Brighton Kemptown MP had faced controversy in recent weeks over comments about Israel and JK Rowling

Lloyd Russell-Moyle
Lloyd Russell-Moyle

Labour’s Lloyd Russell-Moyle has quit the frontbench citing a “campaign by right wing media” and a “torrent of online hate.”

The Brighton Kemptown 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 Corbyn after the party’s disastrous general election, thanked Russell-Moyle for his work as minister for air quality and the natural environment.

“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 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.”

His resignation comes after the Jewish Labour Movement criticised him this week for having attracted “constant controversy in relation to antisemitism”.

The Jewish society affiliated to the party listed numerous criticisms including of “his very public defence” of Chris Williamson, the former MP suspended from Labour for claiming it was “too apologetic” on antisemitism.

Material uncovered by the Sunday Times included a 2009 Facebook post describing Zionism as a “dangerous nationalist idea” and another suggesting Jewish claims to Israel are “not progressive” in their “very nature”, the newspaper reported at the weekend.

He apologised in a statement. “I have now deleted these posts and recognise why they were offensive,” he said.

The MP also apologised last month to Harry Potter author JK Rowling after accusing her of “using her own sexual assault as justification for discriminating” against trans people.

A Labour spokesman said: “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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