Keir Starmer’s executive director of communications and longstanding aide Ben Nunn is to leave his post, as part of a shake-up of the Labour leader’s team.
Nunn, 33, who lives in Starmer’s north London constituency, has worked with him since he was shadow Brexit secretary on Jeremy Corbyn’s frontbench.
He played a senior role in Starmer’s leadership campaign last year, and has been involved in strategic political decisions as well as communications.
In a message to Labour staff on Friday seen by the Guardian, Nunn said: “It has been the privilege of my life to work for Keir these past four years and to help elect him to be Leader of the Labour party. I remain as convinced today as I ever have been that he will be a great prime minister and make this a better, stronger, more prosperous country.”
He said he wanted to “go forward and do something different”.
Another senior member of Labour’s press team, Paul Ovenden, will also depart at the same time. Both have told friends there are personal reasons behind their decisions to step aside now.
The Guardian understands Nunn remains on good terms with Starmer, who left the door open to a future return.
Theirs are the latest departures after Starmer’s parliamentary private secretary Carolyn Harris, who liaised with backbench MPs, stepped down in the wake of the local elections.
Questions were raised about Labour’s media strategy after the party’s faltering response to last month’s defeat at the Hartlepool byelection.
Over the weekend that followed the result, Angela Rayner’s allies accused Starmer’s team of briefing the media that the deputy leader would be moved aside – something Starmer’s office vehemently denied.
Nunn and Ovenden’s departures coincide with the imminent arrival of Starmer’s new director of strategy, the veteran pollster Deborah Mattinson, who is expected to start her role next month.
The Labour leader will now also have to recruit a new communications director. Starmer has been dogged in recent months by internal criticism that he has failed to spell out what the party stands for under his leadership.