De Cordova leaves shadow cabinet ‘to focus on constituency’
Marsha de Cordova, the shadow equalities secretary, has resigned from Keir Starmer’s shadow cabinet with immediate effect citing a desire to focus on her marginal constituency.
The Guardian understands that the shadow women’s minister, Charlotte Nichols, has also stepped down for personal reasons unconnected to any political dispute. Nichols is expected to eventually return to the front bench in a different brief.
De Cordova’s resignation leaves Starmer with a significant role to fill ahead of Labour’s conference next weekend.
She announced her resignation in a tweet, saying: ““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 back benches.”
Starmer said he wanted to thank de Cordova for her work including “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.”
One senior MP said the role would be difficult to fill, citing tensions at a senior level over the party’s stance on transgender rights.
There is reported to have been a disagreement over de Cordova’s attendance at a LGBTQ+ Labour event at party conference with Nancy Kelley, the chief executive of Stonewall.
De Cordova had declined, citing a diary clash. Labour sources denied any link between the Stonewall event and her departure. De Cordova has been approached for comment.