Former Labour MP Frank Field to stand for Birkenhead Social Justice Party at next election
The former Labour MP Frank Field will stand at the next election for the new Birkenhead Social Justice Party, he has announced.
The 77-year-old, who has represented the Merseyside town since 1979, said he wanted to "champion the views and interests of the underdogs in our society".
Mr Field quit the Labour party last year, shortly after losing a vote of confidence by local members after he voted with the Government on Brexit.
Resigning the whip, he said the party had become "a force for anti-Semitism" in British politics.
It had been rumoured Mr Field, who is chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee, was preparing to stand down from the seat he won with a 25,000 majority in 2017.
But in a statement at Birkenhead Town Hall he said he wanted to continue representing the area in Parliament.
"It is a privilege to serve as Birkenhead’s MP – as it has been every day for the past 40 years," he said. "It is ultimately a sovereign decision for the people of the town to decide who they wish to represent them in the House of Commons.
"I will be standing again as a candidate at the next election with the aim of doing what I have done for 40 years: always putting the interests of our town and our country first while championing the views and interests of the underdogs in our society."
He said his priorities included abolishing child poverty in his constituency, eliminating youth unemployment, building at least 500 new homes in the area and fighting crime and anti-social behaviour.
Mr Field said he wanted local people to help him draw up the new party's election manifesto.
He added: "Practically all of my work is guided by the views, experiences, aspirations, and struggles of people in Birkenhead.
"It is only right that the manifesto on which their local MP stands is owned and shaped by them. This is the manifesto that will ensure Birkenhead’s voice is heard and acted on in Parliament."
Mr Field who briefly served as minister for welfare reform in Tony Blair's government, is one of Parliament's best-known MPs.
In his resignation letter to Labour chief whip Nick Brown last year, he said: "Britain fought the Second World War to banish these views from our politics, but that superhuman effort and success is now under huge and sustained internal attack.
"The leadership is doing nothing substantive to address this erosion of our core values. It saddens me to say that we are increasingly seen as a racist party. This issue alone compels me to resign the whip."
Allies of Mr Corbyn responded by saying Mr Field should quit his seat and trigger a by-election.