Shadow Pensions Minister Alex Cunningham resigns

Alex Cunningham has resigned from his role as Shadow Pensions Minister, his office has confirmed.

Cunningham resigned on the 20 December after voting in favour of an amendment on the EU Withdrawal Bill, against the Labour whip.

In a statement, Cunningham said: “In recent months, I have spoken with representatives from many companies in my constituency and beyond and received lobbying from many of them through other means. They are as one about the importance of the government delivering the kind of access and regulatory regime they need to continue their businesses effectively in Europe.

“They also spoke of the threat to investment and the future of many of the jobs they provide in my constituency and across Teesside. I voted as I did as I believed I was leaving the door open for any deal with the EU to possibly include the membership of the Customs Union – something I felt was in the best interests of industry and jobs in my Stockton North constituency.

“After my constituents voted overwhelmingly to leave the EU I saw it as my responsibility to support them in that decision and ensure I worked for the best possible outcome for them in terms of jobs and rights. That I will continue to do.”

The Labour MP for Stockton North was appointed to the post of Shadow Pensions Minister in October 2016.

Cunningham succeeded Angela Rayner who departed from the position to become shadow minister for education and shadow minister for women and equalities in July 2016.

Cunningham was formerly shadow minister for environment, food and rural affairs before resigning from the position in the aftermath of the EU referendum.

He was previously part of the Work and Pensions Committee and had stated his support of the WASPI campaign. During his tenure as Shadow Pensions Minister, Cunningham also voiced his support for the introduction of collective defined contribution (CDC) schemes, noting it is a “better financial solution”.

The Work and Pensions Committee is due to conclude its inquiry into CDC at the end of this month.

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