A former senior aide to Angela Rayner is believed to have received a large payout from Labor after the party admitted there had been ‘misleading and unauthorized leaks’ about her to the media.
Labor said Jack McKenna, the former deputy party leader’s communications chief, was leaving of his own free will and with a “clean record” and Keir Starmer wished him well for the future.
This comes nearly a year after McKenna was suspended over an alleged data breach involving a staff member – a development that was itself leaked before he was made aware of it.
Asked if McKenna had obtained a significant settlement after learning of his suspension last year from the media, the party declined to comment. McKenna also declined to comment.
The episode was seen at the time as an escalation of hostilities between Rayner and Starmer. It came shortly after the Labor leader appeared to blindside Rayner by launching a reshuffle of her front bench as she delivered a speech on plans to reform standards in public life.
He had also distanced himself from his deputy’s controversial remarks about “conservative scum” during the labor conference in 2021.
A Labor statement said McKenna had decided to leave the party to “pursue new opportunities outside of politics”.
“Keir and Angela would like to thank Jack for his hard work and dedicated service to the Labor Party and wish him well for the future,” he added. “We unreservedly condemn misleading and unauthorized leaks about Jack to the media.
“In this context, we would like to make it clear that Jack is leaving Labor with a clean criminal record and without any disciplinary action against him.”
Rayner thanked the “outstanding adviser and a consummate professional.”
“I want to thank Jack for his hard work, support and expertise over the past few years, especially during some of the toughest times we’ve had in politics,” she said.
“I look forward to campaigning alongside him for the Labor government that this country desperately needs, and wish him every success in his future career.”