Jeremy Corbyn has sought to play down a rift at the heart of his team after one of his closest aides resigned, blasting the Labour leader’s top circle for their lack of “human decency”.
Mr Corbyn said Andrew Fisher – who is head of policy and the author of the party’s last manifesto – would stand down at the end of the year to spend more time with his family.
But the Sunday Times reported Mr Fisher had warned that the party would not win the next general election, and walked out last Saturday.
The paper said that he denounced Mr Corbyn’s team for their “lack of professionalism, competence and human decency” in a leaked memo.
He reportedly said he was sick of the “blizzard of lies and excuses”, and claimed a “class war” had gripped the upper echelons of the party.
But appearing on BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show, Mr Corbyn sought to downplay the reports.
He said: “He is wanting to leave in order to spend time looking after his son and being with his wife and his family – because this is a very stressful and very full-on job.
“And he is working with us for the rest of this year – he will be here for the general election campaign, he is as we speak… downstairs.”
The Labour leader added: “He is a great colleague, a great friend… I’ve worked with Andrew for 15 years, when I was a backbencher and many other times. He is a great writer, he’s a great thinker and he’s done a huge amount of work in the party.
“We get along absolutely very well and he’s promised that whatever happens in the future he will be working with me on policy issues.”
On Mr Fisher’s comments in the memo, Mr Corbyn said: “I think he said that because he was extremely distressed at that point about whatever was going on in discussions within the office at that moment.”