Corbyn’s policy chief Neale Coleman steps back amid rows

21st January, 2016 10:17 am

UPDATE 11.45: Labour has confirmed Coleman’s resignation. In a statement, a spokesperson cited “the pressures and demand of the job on his family life”. Coleman is currently in discussions with Corbyn about taking up an advisory and support role.

exit sign

Neale Coleman, Jeremy Corbyn’s Director of Policy and Rebuttal, has reportedly resigned from the leader’s office. The Times broke the story late last night, and Coleman has told several colleagues that he is leaving. However, sources have told The Guardian that he is merely moving to a new, as yet unconfirmed, role.

The Labour Party does not officially comment on staffing issues.

The confusion comes after a growing rift within the office between Coleman and Corbyn’s Communications and Strategy chief, Seumas Milne. Independent sources tell LabourList that there was a falling out during the reshuffle, during which Coleman felt it was made clear his input was not welcome – a conversation that did not end amicably. At the time, there were internal divisions over how conciliatory approach to take towards Shadow Cabinet members such as Hilary Benn and Rosie Winterton.

Some reports suggest that Corbyn’s speech to the Fabian Society last weekend was also a point of contention, with support outlined for major policies that Coleman felt he had not been consulted on.

However, it has also been pointed out that Coleman is in his 60s, and has young children.

Coleman is well-respected across the Labour Party, and many will consider this a loss to Corbyn’s team. He worked for Ken Livingstone during his time as London Mayor, and despite his political affiliations was kept on by Boris Johnson to help organise the 2012 Olympic Games, for which he received an OBE. One of the first appointments by Corbyn in September, Coleman’s arrival was greeted warmly by leadership-sceptic MPs such as John Mann.

The apparent resignation has sparked a series of rumours, with the Staggers’ Stephen Bush reporting that Corbyn’s Chief of Staff Simon Fletcher could also be on his way out. Fletcher is another former Ken Livingstone staffer, and was one of the driving forces behind Corbyn’s leadership campaigns.

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