A Labour MP has hit out at the “right-wing media” after resigning as a member of the party’s frontbench.
Lloyd Russell-Moyle, MP for Brighton Kempton and Peacehaven, said he had been the victim of a “torrent of online hate” as he stepped down as a shadow environment minister.
His departure from the shadow front benches is the latest exit of an ally of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Russell-Moyle last month apologised for the comments he made about JK Rowling in a row about trans rights.
On Thursday, he wrote: “It is with regret I leave the shadow ministry, owing to a campaign by right-wing media my position has become untenable.
“I shall return to backbenches for the time being to support Keir in defending and furthering the manifesto we stood on and to achieve a Labour government.”
In his statement he also wrote the media had “unleashed a torrent of online hate and daily calls of harassment to my office, which has exposed those who work for me to abuse that would not be acceptable in any workplace”.
“It is my job to get political flack, but it is not the job of caseworkers, researchers and assistants to be attacked,” he added.
“It has also led to hounding and stress, from which I need a few weeks to support my team and myself to collectively recover.”
Last month, Russell-Moyle apologised “unreservedly” after accusing JK Rowling of using her history of sexual abuse as a justification for discriminating against transgender people.
Lloyd Russell-Moyle sparked anger with comments in an article in Tribune magazine in which he described the Harry Potter author’s disclosure as part of a “divide and rule” tactic to undermine efforts to secure rights for trans people.
But he later admitted he was “wrong” to suggest that she was not acting in good faith when going public over her experience of domestic abuse.
Earlier this week, Russell-Moyle apologised after it emerged that he had made comments on social media in which he called Zionism a “dangerous nationalist idea” and accused Israel of terrorism. The comments, revealed by the Sunday Times, were made before he became an MP in 2017.
Keir Starmer, who replaced Corbyn after the party’s disastrous general election, thanked Russell-Moyle for his work as minister for air quality and the natural environment.
A Labour spokesman said: “Keir thanked Lloyd for his hard work on the frontbench and wished him well in his plans for the coming months to focus on housing and youth services.”
Russell-Moyle did not specify the details of any apparent campaign against him or the abuse he has suffered.
As Starmer tries to restore Labour’s reputation with the Jewish community, the Jewish Labour Movement criticised Russell-Moyle this week for having attracted “constant controversy in relation to anti-Semitism”.
The socialist society affiliated to the party listed numerous criticisms including of “his very public defence” of Chris Williamson, the former MP suspended from Labour for claiming it was “too apologetic” on anti-Semitism.
Last month, Starmer sacked Rebecca Long-Bailey as shadow education secretary after she shared an article containing an alleged anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.
Labour frontbenchers denied a purge was taking place against the party left after the end of Corbyn’s leadership.