Starmer says Labour’s general secretary quit ‘by mutual agreement’

PUBLISHED: 11:12 05 May 2020 | UPDATED: 11:12 05 May 2020

Jeremy Corbyn is joined by Jennie Formby, general secretary of the Labour Party, at a party conference. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA.

Jeremy Corbyn is joined by Jennie Formby, general secretary of the Labour Party, at a party conference. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA.

PA Archive/PA Images

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said the resignation of Jennie Formby as the party’s general secretary was by “mutual agreement”.

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Formby, a close ally of ex-leader Jeremy Corbyn, announced she was standing down from her post on Monday.

The former union chief said she applied for the role two years ago “to support Jeremy Corbyn” and said with a new leader in place “it is the right time to step down”.

“When I applied for the role of general secretary in 2018 it was because I wanted to support Jeremy Corbyn, who inspired so many people to get involved in politics with his message of hope, equality and peace,” she said in a statement.

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Now Starmer has told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It was a mutual agreement and I wish her the very best.

“We need to move on as a party. Put a new team in place to face the future.”

Formby insisted it was the “right time” to quit while the new leader got a grip on the party.

Her resignation came as the party is investigating the leak of a highly controversial dossier on anti-Semitism, which referred to “factional opposition” towards Corbyn.

Labour has had to defend its data protection handling and work with the Information Commissioner’s Office over the leak, with some of those named in the report threatening legal challenges.

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