WANSBECK MP Ian Lavery has stood down from his role as parliamentary private secretary (PPS) to deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman in a row over pensions.
The move comes after Mr Lavery tabled an amendment to a government bill about raising the retirement age to 68, in an attempt to protect public sector pensions.
The Bill includes an exemption for emergency services, but Mr Lavery believes that should also be extended to prison staff and psychiatric nurses because of the stressful nature of the job.
Mr Lavery was told by Labour chief whip Rosie Winterton that the move would make his position as Mrs Harman’s aide untenable.
The former Wansbeck councillor and president of the NUM, said he ‘reluctantly’ felt he had no option other than to resign.
“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,” he said.
“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.
“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.”