Heidi Alexander quits as Labour MP to take up job with London Mayor Sadiq Khan
Former shadow cabinet minister Heidi Alexander has announced she will stand down as an MP to take up the role of London's deputy mayor for transport.
Rules state the Lewisham East MP will be forced to give up the seat before taking up the new job - prompting a summer by-election in a constituency where Labour enjoys a 21,000 majority.
Ms Alexander was Shadow Health Secretary from when Jeremy Corbyn took over as leader in September 2015, before quitting in June the following year amid a string of resignations in the party.
In a statement, she said she was “really excited” to be taking up the role in Sadiq Khan's team, while paying tribute to incumbent Val Shawcross, who is retiring.
"I am really excited to be joining Sadiq and the team at City Hall. Val is going to be a hard act to follow but I can't wait to get started,” she said.
“After eight years as the Member of Parliament for Lewisham East and six years as a local councillor, I know just how important it is we ensure everyone has access to a high-quality and affordable public transport network, with safe cycling routes across the capital.
“London is a fantastic city. I know Sadiq wants its transport system to be the envy of the world and I am looking forward to playing my part in making that happen."
London’s Mayor, Mr Khan, said he was “delighted” by the move and paid tribute to her work in campaigning on Brexit issues.
“Heidi knows this city inside-out, and her work both as Shadow Health Secretary and campaigning over the best Brexit deal has demonstrated the terrific job she will do as part of my team standing up for London,” he said.
“Heidi is respected across the political divide as a parliamentarian and campaigner, and Londoners can be confident she will ensure we deliver our ambitious plans to transform London’s transport network over the coming years.”
Mr Corbyn said: “I would like to thank Heidi Alexander for her service to the people of Lewisham as their MP for the past eight years, and for her work as Shadow Health Secretary.
“I wish Heidi well in her new role as Deputy Mayor for London in Sadiq Khan’s team, where I know she will put her talents and knowledge to great use for the people of London."