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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Shadow housing chief is one of dozens of Labour front-benchers to quit

The haemorrhage of Labour spokespeople now includes the party’s respected shadow housing minister John Healey.

His letter to party leader Jeremy Corbyn says:

Dear Jeremy

I am grateful to you for agreeing to meet with Lisa, Owen, Kate, Nia and I this morning. As you and I discussed yesterday it setting up the meeting, we wanted to speak plainly and in person to you, and we felt we owed you that courtesy.

I am however deeply disappointed with the discussion and by your failure to recognise that the turmoil after the Referendum vote, a likely Autumn election, the responsibility to hold the Labour Party together and the very wide - and ever widening - concerns about your leadership require a fresh leadership election, with you stepping aside as Leader to seek a new mandate if you aspire to lead Labour into the coming General Election.

Whilst we all have a responsibility to help maintain a unity of Labour purpose and provide a strong Labour voice at this time of unprecedented national uncertainty and lack of government leadership post-Brexit, you are clearly not prepared to accept the special responsibility you have in acting to meet these challenges. 

It is a unique privilege to serve on our Party’s frontbench, both in Opposition and in Government, and I thank you for appointing me last September as shadow secretary of state for housing and planning. It is therefore with deep regret that these circumstances mean that I am unable to continue to serve the Party in your shadow cabinet and am left with no other option than to offer my resignation.

Yours ever,

John Healey MP

When he took office, Healey - a veteran campaigner for social housing and housing minister for a brief period during the Blair premiership - made it clear that more affordable homes would be a priority. 

He told The Guardian that home ownership "has been dropping like a stone and for young people their hopes of being able to get on the housing ladder are all gone in most parts of the country.”

In what some saw as a thinly-veiled warning to Corbyn at the time, Healey used the article to tell his party not to “imagine the solution to the housing crisis lies solely in building more council homes”.

Yesterday the housing minister Brandon Lewis tweeted: “Usually disagree with John on most things but sad day for Labour to lose so many of their key players.”

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