WANSBECK MP Ian Lavery has resigned as Parliamentary aide to Labour’s Deputy Leader Harriet Harman.
The MP reluctantly stepped down from his role of two years after tabling a Commons amendment to a Government Bill that seeks to raise the retirement age for public sector workers to 68.
The legislation would include exemptions for emergency service personnel such as police and firemen, but Mr Lavery argued it should also apply to prison staff and psychiatric nurses due to the stressful nature of their work.
However, the amendment was not in line with his Party’s position and the MP was told by Labour Chief Whip Rosie Winterton that it would make his position as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Ms Harman untenable.
Mr Lavery said: “I was asked to withdraw my amendments because they were not in line with Labour’s front bench position over the Bill, but I was not prepared to do that.
“I acknowledge the need for discipline within the Party, but I am equally passionate about the importance of standing up for what you personally think is right. In this case, it was right to stand up for people who might never make it to 68 years old to draw their pensions.
“The people I want to support should have the same exemptions to the retirement age changes because their jobs are as stressful, challenging and even personally dangerous as the police and fire service.
“I took the decision to resign as Harriet Harman’s PPS with great regret because it is a job I have been privileged and honoured to do for the past two years. It has been a tremendous learning experience for a relative newcomer in the House of Commons to work alongside such an experienced and respected Parliamentarian as Harriet.”