Simon Fletcher has quit as Labour's campaigns director
Jeremy Corbyn suffered fresh woe today as one of his closest aides quit less than a week before crucial by-elections.
Simon Fletcher is thought to have resigned as Labour's campaigns director after becoming disillusioned by the party's direction.
The 48-year-old - who served as chief of staff to Ken Livingstone when he was London Mayor - has been a key member of Mr Corbyn's inner circle since his shock leadership victory in 2015.
A party spokesman said he was leaving to 'take on other projects and opportunities'.
Labour is bracing itself for disaster next week as they face the humiliating prospect of losing both the Copeland and Stoke by-elections.
In the Stoke-on-Trent constituency - which Labour has held since the 1950s - Ukip leader Paul Nuttall is neck-and-neck with Labour candidate Gareth Snell, who was embroiled in a sexism row this week after offensive Twitter posts were unearthed from his past.
But Mr Nuttall also faced humiliation after he was forced into making the humiliating confession on live radio yesterday that he had not lost 'close personal friends' at the disaster after appearing to be surprised at the words published under his own name on his official website.
In Copeland three in ten Labour voters from 2015 have deserted the party, which only held the seat two years ago by 2,500 seats.
Losing both seats could spell the end for Mr Corbyn, who was last week forced to make the fourth reshuffle of his 18-month leadership after four shadow cabinet ministers quit in protest at his support for Brexit.
Mr Corbyn's unpopularity means Labour campaigners in the Cumbria constituency have told him to stay away.
Mr Corbyn has already been barred from visiting the other by-election campaign in Stoke, according to insiders, who say the veteran left-wing socialist is 'not a plus on the doorstep'.
Aides have confirmed the Labour leader will not visit Copeland again ahead of the February 23 by-election.
Last week a YouGov survey revealed Mr Corbyn had negative approval ratings among all demographics - including among Labour's traditional working class base, northern voters, women and young people.
Mr Corbyn, pictured on a visit to Tameside last week, has dire personal poll ratings
This week a UK-wide poll put Labour in third place among working class voters for the first time.
A YouGov survey suggested the party has the support of just 20 per cent of working-class voters – behind the Tories, on 39 per cent, and Ukip on 23 per cent.
Another dire poll showed Labour was set for a complete wipe-out in May's local elections in Scotland.
Just 14 per cent of Scots say they will vote Labour - nearly half the number saying they will back the Tories.
Tony Blair today claimed that the 'debilitated' state of Labour under Mr Corbyn's stewardship was to blame for Brexit.
Mr Fletcher pictured with then-London Mayor Ken Livingstone in 2009. He was the left-winger's chief of staff