A former senior aide to Angela Rayner is believed to have been given a significant payout by Labour after the party acknowledged there had been “misleading and unauthorised leaks” about him to the media.
Labour said Jack McKenna, the former communications chief to the party’s deputy leader, was leaving of his own accord and with a “clean record” and that Keir Starmer wishes him well for the future.
It comes almost a year after the news that McKenna had been suspended over an alleged data breach relating to a member of staff – a development that was itself leaked before he was informed.
Asked whether McKenna had been handed a significant settlement after having learned of his suspension last year through 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 Labour leader appeared to blindside Rayner by launching a reshuffle of his front bench while she gave a speech on plans for reforming standards in public life.
He had also distanced himself from his deputy’s controversial remarks about “Tory scum” at the Labour conference in 2021.
A Labour 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 Labour Party and wish him well for the future,” it added. “We unreservedly condemn misleading and unauthorised leaks about Jack to the media.
“In that context, we wish to make clear that Jack leaves the Labour Party with a clean 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 last few years, including through some of the most challenging periods that we’ve known in politics,” she said.
“I look forward to campaigning alongside him for the Labour government this country desperately needs, and wish him all the best in his future career.”