Alan Johnson becomes latest Labour MP to announce he is quitting amid 'exodus' warning

Posted On: 
18th April 2017

Alan Johnson has become the latest Labour MP to announce he will not stand at the snap election on 8 June.

Alan Johnson was known to be unhappy with the direction of Labour under Jeremy Corbyn.
PA Images

The New Labour veteran joined Tom Blenkinsop in confirming he will not seek re-election – amid claims there could be an "exodus" of the party's sitting MPs before polling day.

Mr Johnson, who served in numerous Cabinet positions under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and was a critic of Jeremy Corbyn, revealed his decision in an email to members of his Hull West and Hessle constituency party.

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He said: “Next month will mark the 20th anniversary of my tenure as Member of Parliament for Hull West and Hessle. Every day has been a privilege and a pleasure but it can't go on for ever and the electoral cycle means that each incumbent has to think again about what's best for them, the constituency and the party.

“As far as the constituency and the party are concerned, no MP wants to put them through the anguish of a mid-term by-election, so for me the personal decision is whether to retire now or in 2022 when I'll be into my 70s.

“I've decided that going now will give me the opportunity to do other things with my life and is therefore in the best interests of me and my family. I also think it's best for the party.

“If the Tories win again there is little doubt that they'll implement the boundary changes that they commissioned which will drastically alter the make-up of our constituency whilst maintaining most of West Hull and Hessle at its core.

“It's far better for a new Labour candidate to fight the seat as it is rather than be a new face contesting a revised constituency in five years' time. I wanted Labour party members in Hull West and Hessle to be the first to hear about my decision – hence this e-mail.

“The loyalty and friendship of those who've been stalwarts of the party throughout most of my 20 years has been something I've cherished. We've achieved a lot together and Labour in Hull can be equally proud of its past achievements and its vision for the future: that is now being realised."

“As a resident of East Yorkshire I'll watch that vision unfold from the sidelines – hopefully under a Labour government. It's been great working with you.”

Earlier, Tom Blenkinsop – the MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland since 2010 and another Corbyn critic – said he would also be standing down ahead of the election.

He said: “I have made no secret about my significant and irreconcilable differences with the current Labour leadership. It is because of these differences I feel I cannot in good faith stand as the Labour candidate for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland.

“Representing the people of Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland has been the proudest years of my life.

“I will do all I can in my time remaining as an MP to champion my constituents and the area that means so much to me, as I have been proud to do over the last seven years.”

One Labour MP told PoliticsHome that “loads” of others were now actively considering standing down ahead of 8 June.

“I think you'll see an exodus of Labour MPs – before and after the election,” said the MP.

“Lots of colleagues are now thinking about their future, or as in many cases, the lack of it. Lots will stand down ahead of near-certain defeat or because Jeremy has made the atmosphere inside the party so miserable

“And of course the sad fact is very many decent hardworking colleagues are set to lose their seat thanks to Jeremy and his allies.”