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Starmer’s aide resigns amid claims she spread Rayner rumours

Starmer's aide resigns amid claims she spread Rayner rumours
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The Labour soap opera rumbles on. Just as Keir Starmer appeared to be moving past the turmoil of his botched reshuffle with a very public Commons walkabout with Angela Rayner, relations in the party have kicked off once again. Starmer's parliamentary private secretary Carolyn Harris MP has resigned over allegations that she spread baseless rumours about Angela Rayner’s private life.

One shadow minister told the Times which broke the story that 'She was briefing salacious rumours about Angela over the weekend and got caught. She’s a total wrecking ball and has done him a lot of harm in PLP [parliamentary party].' When asked about the allegations she had been spreading rumours about Rayner, Harris immediately blocked the poor Times reporter on WhatsApp. 

Starmer's office declined to comment other than to release a statement from Harris, the MP for Swansea East and deputy leader of Welsh Labour:

It has been the proudest moment of my career to co-chair the campaign that saw Keir Starmer elected as Labour leader, and to serve as his PPS [parliamentary private secretary] for the past year. Stepping back from this role is the right thing at this moment, coming as it does after some trying personal times and an ever-increasing workload as Deputy Leader of Welsh Labour. I have enjoyed every minute, and look forward to supporting Keir the best way I can in the months ahead.

Harris of course had previously got into trouble after she was revealed to have invited a fraudster who swindled £45,000 by faking cancer to address an anti-gambling event. Given that the role of a PPS is to be a leader's eyes and ears, receiving gossip rather than disseminating it, Mr S wonders which Labour MP will be judged discreet enough to next take on this vital role.

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to steerpike@spectator.co.uk.

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