Rachael Maskell, the shadow minister for civil society, has stepped down after defying the Labour whip in last night’s vote on compulsory vaccines for health workers.
The MP for York Central, who has been shadow charities minister since April last year, paid tribute to voluntary sector workers in a statement this morning.
“It has been an absolute pleasure to work alongside so many talented and dedicated leaders, organisations, volunteers and service users across the civil society sector," she said.
“In the most challenging of times, the sector has once again proved that it can meet the needs of our communities and fight for the people of our country with such clarity and dignity.”
Maskell said it was “no easy decision to vote against the whip, but when working people are being threatened with being dismissed because they are too fearful to take a vaccine, and legislation would have the opposite outcome to that of its intended purpose, then I have to stand with our incredible health and care workers and fight their corner”.
She said she intended to continue working with the voluntary sector from the backbenches.
Maskell, a former charities lead for the trade union Unite, entered parliament in 2015 and succeeded Vicky Foxcroft as shadow charities minister.