The Welsh MP Carolyn Harris has denied being forced to quit as a close aide to the UK Labour party leader over allegations that she’d been stoking tensions among MPs.
And in a new episode of Face To Face, she tells me her friendship with Keir Starmer has remained undamaged by the events.
The Swansea East MP resigned as Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Keir Starmer in May at a time of turmoil within the party following poor performances in English local council elections and defeat by the Conservatives in the Hartlepool by-election.
Reports at the time suggested that the Swansea East MP had been inflaming tensions which were already running high because of a botched reshuffle.
She said at the time “It has been the proudest moment of my career to co-chair the campaign that saw Keir Starmer elected as Labour leader, and to serve as his PPS for the past year.
“Stepping back from this role is the right thing at this moment, coming as it does after some trying personal times and an ever-increasing workload as deputy leader of Welsh Labour.”
In her interview with me for tonight’s Face to Face programme, Carolyn Harris insists that she resigned rather than being sacked and that she remains close friends with Keir Starmer, a friendship that she says goes back to when they were both first elected.
“One of the few people I will keep in touch with during recess will be Keir,” she says, adding that “I do love Keir, he’s one of my besties.”
There had been increasing criticism of Keir Starmer’s leadership following difficult election results in England.
The volume of the criticism lessened after Labour’s narrow victory in the Batley and Spen by election at the beginning of July but some still claim there are deep divisions that amount to a “civil war.”
Carolyn Harris rejects that description.
“The divisions are what they've always been around the individual politics of a person. There isn't the civil war that people would like to think that it is, and I think certainly since Batley and Spen, it's a lot better.”
She says the Labour party does need to listen to voters more, because “we've not been listening properly since 2010.”
There is, she says, more unity in the Welsh Labour party, despite political differences.
As the directly elected deputy leader of Welsh Labour she says she works closely with First Minister Mark Drakeford even though they don’t agree on everything: “I’m probably more centrist than Mark is… but we have a good relationship.”
In the programme, Carolyn Harris talks frankly about the effect of social media abuse which she says is “really painful” and rarely about any of her political stances or campaigns.
“I haven't got purple hair now but until recently it was the colour of my hair. I am not a slim lady, so it's about my size. I like loud clothes so it's about what I wear. It's about being Welsh and having a Welsh accent.”
It’s a frank and fascinating conversation with someone who came to politics after family tragedy and still admits to experiencing “imposter syndrome.”
You can see Face to Face with me Adrian Masters at 1045pm on ITV Cymru Wales.