Rosie Duffield resigns as Labour whip after breaking lockdown rules

Sienna Rodgers
© Chris McAndrew/CC BY 3.0

Rosie Duffield has apologised and resigned from her opposition frontbench post as a Labour whip after breaking coronavirus lockdown rules.

The Labour MP for Canterbury met her new partner for a long walk in April, and also did not deny that he had visited her home, according to The Mail on Sunday.

People are now allowed to meet someone from a different household while keeping to the two-metre distancing rule, but the measures had not yet been relaxed when the walk took place.

Duffield was not living with her partner as he is married and was living with his wife at the time, though they are now thought to be living in the same property in London.

In a statement, Duffield said: “My partner and I have been attempting to navigate a difficult personal situation as responsibly as possible. I apologise that during that process, we breached the guidelines.”

She added: “A relationship breakdown is difficult at the best of times, let alone during a pandemic. I hope people can understand why I took the steps I did and know that I take responsibility for the breaches that occurred and for which I apologise.”

The events have been compared to the Dominic Cummings story, but Labour sources point out that Duffield has apologised and admitted a breach – unlike the Prime Minister’s adviser.

Elected for the first time in 2017, Duffield was appointed as a whip by new leader Keir Starmer in mid-April, along with more than a dozen other Labour MPs.

As well as winning Canterbury for Labour after 185 years of the constituency being held by Tories, Duffield is best known for her House of Commons speech last year on domestic abuse.

Duffield succeeded Jess Phillips as chair of the Women’s Parliamentary Labour Party in October 2019. She has been outspoken on antisemitism and in her support of the Jewish Labour Movement.

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