Weeks after she criticised George Galloway's comments on consensual rape, Respect leader Salma Yaqoob resigns citing a "breakdown in trust" at the top of the party.
Salma Yaqoob said that she made her decision after an "extremely difficult" few weeks for everyone in the party.
In a resignation statement on the Respect party website, Ms Yaqoob did not refer to the comments, but said that collaborate working within the party had "broken down".
"I feel necessary relations of trust and collaborative working have unfortunately broken down," she said. "I have no wish to prolong those difficulties, and indeed hope that they may now be drawn to a close."
Three weeks ago, Mr Galloway had suggested that consent was not always necessary before sex and was critical of the charges of sexual assault brought by two women against Mr Assange.
In a podcast, Mr Galloway said the allegations did not constitute rape "as most people understand it" adding: "not everybody needs to be asked prior to each insertion".
He later said that he believed non-consensual sex was always rape.
Ms Yaqoob, a former Birmingham city councillor and qualified psychotherapist, condemned the comments and tried to distance them from the Respect party. She said Mr Galloway's comments were "deeply disappointing and wrong" and said the "political issues" surrounding Mr Assange's case should be separated from the legal charges.
Yaqoob was elected as a Birmingham city councillor in 2006 and is one of Respect's best known figures after Galloway.
Respect National Secretary Chris Chilvers said: "While we are obviously very sorry that Salma has decided to leave Respect, we would like to thank her for the great contribution she has made to Respect over the last decade.
"We look forward to working with Salma in the future in pursuit of our shared values and objectives."
Mr Galloway secured a shock victory in the Bradord West by-election in March.
30 March 2012
30 March 2012