- REUTERS/Hannah McKay
- Close Jeremy Corbyn ally leaves Labour’s frontbench after calling for council tax to be doubled.
- In a statement Williamson says he is resigning in order to be free to campaign on “a broader range of issues.”
- S ources close to the Labour leader say the decision was “mutual”.
LONDON – Labour MP Chris Williamson has resigned from Jeremy Corbyn’s top team after calling for a big hike to council tax.
In a statement, Willamson said he had quit his role as shadow fire minister in order to be free to “[campaign] on a broader range of issues.”
A source close to the Labour leader told Business Insider that the resignation had been a “mutual decision” between Williamson and the leadership.
The MP for Derby North and close friend of Corbyn was met with a Conservative backlash earlier this week after calling for council tax to be doubled on expensive homes.
Williamson said the tax hike on the most expensive properties – which he dubbed the ‘Differential Progressive Council Tax’ – would help Labour “regain the initiative” in areas impacted by Tory government cuts.
“I will be standing down from my role with immediate effect so that I can return to the backbenches, where I will be campaigning on a broader range of issues,” he said.
He added: “I will continue to loyally support the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn from the backbenches and hope to be a voice for the party’s members.”
He later posted a longer statement on his personal website:
New Chris Williamson statement on his website: pic.twitter.com/a1E3fzSNE8
— Dan Bloom (@danbloom1) January 11, 2018
Williamon’s call was not official Labour policy and Business Insider understands that senior party figures were unhappy with the publicity aroused by the idea.
Labour sources told BI that the party was definitely not considering his council tax proposal.
Responding to Williamson’s resignation, Labour leader Corbyn said: “I am grateful for Chris’ work on the frontbench, particularly on fire safety following the appalling Grenfell Tower Fire.
“I know that on the backbenches, Chris will be a strong campaigner on a range of crucial issues as well as serving his constituents with dedication.”