Thank you for your letter. As I said to you when we spoke at lunchtime today, I do believe that it does now make sense for you and for the Party for you to step down.
I am enormously grateful to you for the work you have done for the Party in the past two years. As Deputy Chair you have helped to re-galvanise the grass roots of the Party. You have worked with Party staff up and down the country, through two sets of local elections and a record number of by-elections, to get Labour into a position to fight and win the General Election in 2015.
As you acknowledge we still have a long way to go, but you have helped to put real spirit into Labour Party activists up and down the country. And I know you will carry on doing that from the backbenches. You came into politics to campaign, often on issues that some would be shy to confront – phone hacking being a prime example. I also respect your desire to be free to do that without the constraints of your current role and responsibilities, both in the Party and in the Shadow Cabinet.
I am grateful to you for your loyalty and friendship. You are a formidable campaigner, passionate about the cause of a fairer country, and I know you will be speaking with eloquence from the backbenches on the issues you care about most.