Marsha de Cordova, the Labour MP for Battersea, has resigned from Sir Keir Starmer’s shadow cabinet today after serving as Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary since Starmer took up his post as Leader back in April last year.
The Battersea MP tweeted: “It has been an immense privilege to serve as the Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary for the past 17 months. It therefore comes with much sadness that I am resigning with immediate effect.
“Having only been elected in 2017 for the historically marginal constituency of Battersea, I would like to focus more of my time and efforts on the people of Battersea. I will continue to support Keir Starmer from the backbenches.”
Starmer commented: “I would like to thank Marsha de Cordova for her service and in particular her work highlighting the disproportionate impact the pandemic has had on Black, Asian, minority ethnic and disabled people.
“Marsha has also laid the foundations for a new Race Equality Act that Labour would introduce to tackle the structural inequalities which have existed in our society for too long.”
De Cordova’s resignation will leave Starmer with a significant role to fill ahead of Labour’s conference next weekend, with a replacement expected to be announced shortly.
When De Cordova was appointed to the role, she replaced Dawn Butler who could not continue as Starmer had committed to not keeping anyone who had refused to sign up to the Board of Deputies pledges for leadership candidates.
But De Cordova has also had a strained relationship with the leadership, particularly after she signed a letter along with eight other Black Labour MPs who said they were “disappointed and seriously concerned” by the indefinite delay of the Forde Inquiry.
Sources also say there have been tensions over trans rights and to what extent the party should be engaging with groups that are opposed to Keir Starmer’s stance on reforming the Gender Recognition Act and supporting self-identification.
She recently declined to attend an event by LGBT+ Labour and Stonewall being held at the Labour conference this year in spite of pressure from Sir Keir Starmer, the party’s leader. It is understood the party is sending Angela Rayner to represent the frontbench instead.
LGBT Labour and the Stonewall charity have been running joint events at the party’s conference for at least a decade. No shadow equalities secretary has previously declined the invitation to attend.
“Marsha is writing a letter to herself,” one source close to Starmer said because De Cordova held the equalities brief and sat on the diversity and inclusion board set up when David Evans became general secretary. an obvious conflict.
The timing of the resignation will raise eyebrows in Westminster, with Labour’s autumn conference due to begin on September 25