One of Jeremy Corbyn’s allies has quit Labour’s frontbench after making comments about council tax outside his brief.
Chris Williamson is no longer shadow fire and emergency services minister, in what a source said was a ‘mutual decision’ with Mr Corbyn.
He had suggested doubling council tax on better-off homes.
The idea was seized upon by the Tories, who mocked up an image featuring the MP and the message ‘I want to double your council tax’, posting it on social media.
Mr Williamson, MP for Derby North, said: ‘I will be standing down from my role with immediate effect so that I can return to the backbenches, where I will be campaigning on a broader range of issues.
‘I will continue to loyally support the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn from the backbenches and hope to be a voice for the party’s members.’
Mr Corbyn said: ‘I am grateful for Chris’s work on the frontbench, particularly on fire safety following the appalling Grenfell Tower fire.
‘I know that on the backbenches, Chris will be a strong campaigner on a range of crucial issues as well as serving his constituents with dedication.’
Under Mr Williamson’s council tax initiative, the levy could be frozen for properties in Bands A to C, with a progressive rise after that leading to a 20% increase for Band D homes valued between £68,000 to £88,000, and a 100% hike for Band H ones worth more than £320,000.
He stressed the plan was not Labour Party policy and would need to be backed in local referendums before it was introduced.
Mr Williamson told HuffPost UK that the ‘differential progressive council tax’ idea was conceived out of frustration at local authority cuts to generate income to fund services.
Revealing the plan on Wednesday, he told HuffPost UK: ‘You can imagine the Daily Mail and Daily Express would go to town on a proposition like this.
‘It’s not a panacea, it’s a response to a terrible situation. I think it’s an argument that could be won.
‘This is not Labour Party policy, it’s an idea I came up with at a local level and it’s got a little bit of traction in other parts of the country. It’s a reaction to an emergency that local government has been placed in.’