North Durham MP Kevan Jones steps down ahead of upcoming general election

Kevan Jones is standing down from his role as MP for North Durham
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)

North Durham MP Kevan Jones has stepped down from is duties in Parliament ahead of July's general election, as he prepares to have surgery and receive treatment for an ongoing condition. The 60-year-old Labour MP who was born in Worksop has represented his constituency since 2001, but will not stand for his position in the recently announced public vote.

Jones took to social media to break the news at 5pm this evening, speaking of how he was honoured and privileged to have represented the people of the North East for 23 years. He wrote: "It has been an honour and a privilege to represent the people of North Durham in Parliament since 2001.

"It has been a difficult decision to take to decide that I will not be a candidate at the forthcoming General Election. In early June I will be undergoing surgery and treatment for an ongoing condition, which would make it impossible for me to fight the campaign that I and my constituents would expect me to do so.

"I know from being a Minister in the last Labour Government the difference a Labour Government will make to our country. Under Keir Starmer's leadership we are now in a position to once again provide a genuine alternative to the destructive and negative Conservative Government we have had for the last 14 years.

"Our main aim now is to get that Labour Government elected, which this country desperately needs."

Jones also reflected on an outstanding 23-year career in representing his constituency, speaking of all of the opportunities he has had in his more than two decade role as an MP. He added: "Over the last 23 years, I have had the privilege of meeting and helping thousands of constituents in North Durham and I am proud of the constituency's continuing strong sense of community and vibrant voluntary sector.

"I hope that my efforts as your Member of Parliament have helped to support this. Since first being elected, I have championed the cause of the defence and security of our nation, and particularly the efforts of those who served to keep us safe. It has been a privilege to have been a Defence Minister, member of the Defence Select Committee, Intelligence and Security Committee, a Vice President of NATO Parliamentary Assembly, and a Commonwealth War Graves Commissioner.

"Over the years, I have taken up and championed many individual cases for constituents but also campaigned on broader issues including the plight of miners' compensation and for a number of years on the justice for sub-postmasters campaign. It is satisfying that those who have suffered for far too long in the case of the Post Office Horizon scandal are now being heard and injustice has been recognised.

"I hope that my efforts on their behalf helped contribute in some small way to this outcome. I am sad to be leaving the House of Commons but would like to thank the people of North Durham and my supporters who gave me the opportunity to serve them."

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer tweeted: "Kevan, thank you for 23 years of service to your constituents, as Minister of Defence, and for your tireless campaigning on issues like Horizon. I’m grateful for your long support of me and the integral role you’ve played in changing our Party. My best wishes for your treatment.

"It comes as two serving Government ministers also announced that they will not seek re-election on the first day of the general election campaign. Transport minister Huw Merriman and Work and Pensions minister Jo Churchill each shared resignation letters sporting the House of Commons letterhead today."

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's decision to call a general election surprised many in Westminster who were expecting an autumnal poll.