Number of Labour MPs standing down before General Election continues to grow amid Corbyn skepticism

Rachel Roberts
George Osborne has announced his intention to stand down before the general election: Getty

The number of Labour MPs who have confirmed or are expected to stand down rather than contest their seats is rising amid fears the party could face a trouncing at the polls and concerns over the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.

The surprise decision by Theresa May to call a snap election could see several high-profile bids to return to Parliament as well as a number of departures.

Labour MPs have until 20 April to announce whether or not they will contest their seats at the election on 8 June.

A dozen have now indicated they intend to get off the Commons stage – but two of these are remaining in politics and hope to become Mayors of Liverpool and Manchester.

Four Conservatives and one Liberal Democrat have also announced their intention to stand down, along with newly independent Douglas Carswell, who was previously Ukip’s only MP.


George Osborne, Tatton

One of the least surprising announcements of the last few days, given that the former Chancellor will soon have his hands full editing the Evening Standard. He has various other outside interests, including lucrative after-dinner speaking engagements and financial consultancy work for Black Rock. But Mr Osborne left the door open for a return to politics at some stage, saying he is leaving “for now”.

Gerald Howarth, Aldershot

The backbench Brexiteer is standing down at the age of 69.

He said: “I have every confidence in the outstanding leadership of Prime Minister Theresa May and I have assured her of my fullest support from beyond the Palace of Westminster.”

Simon Burns, Chelmsford

A veteran Tory MP of 30 years, he served as a health and transport minister during his time in Government. He said “now is the right time” for him to go.

Angela Watkinson, Hornchurch and Upminster

The former Tory Whip who has been an MP since 2001 is stepping down for health reasons after suffering a minor stroke last year.


Michael Dugher, Barnsley East

The most recent Labour MP to announce he is leaving Parliament is former Shadow Cabinet member Michael Dugher.

Mr Dugher told Politics Home he was stepping down after seven years after an MP to spent more time with his family "with some sadness".

Alan Johnson, Hull West and Hessle

The former postman who rose to become Home Secretary and Chancellor during the Blair and Brown years, Mr Johnson is perhaps the best known of the Labour MPs to have announced their imminent departure.

An MP since 1997, he told his constituents: “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.“

Mr Johnson has written several books and is a regular guest on the BBC’s This Week programme.

Andy Burnham speaking in Manchester at the Soccerex Global Convention (Getty)

Andy Burnham, Leigh

Another high-profile Labour MP, Mr Burnham is standing to be Manchester’s new metro mayor on 4 May and always planned to step down from his seat and trigger a by-election if he won.

The former shadow Home Secretary lost the battle to become Labour leader against Jeremy Corbyn in 2015. He told his constituents: ”In standing to be the first elected Mayor of Greater Manchester, I am of course still seeking to represent Leigh on the national stage, alongside the other towns and cities of Greater Manchester.”

Gisela Stewart, Birmingham Edgbaston

A prominent Breixteer, she was one of a handful of Labour MPs to back the Leave campaign, sharing a stage with Conservatives including Boris Johnson in the run-up to the Referendum.

After two decades in the Commons representing the marginal constituency, the Corbyn critic said she is leaving because it is “time to pass on the baton.”

Before she won the seat when Tony Blair swept to power in 1997, Edgbaston was a Conservative stronghold and could fall to the Tories again with Ms Stewart’s departure.

David Anderson, Blaydon

The shadow Scotland and Northern Ireland Secretary has announced he will not seek re-election because of health reasons, his age and family needs.

Jim Dowd, Lewisham West and Penge

A former chief whip who joined Parliament in 1992 during the Major years when Labour was stuck in opposition, he denied Mr Corbyn’s leadership is a factor in his decision to stand down, although he has called for a change of leadership.

“If a week is a long time in politics, then 25 years is an eternity,” he said.

Tom Blenkinsop, Middlesborough South and East Cleveland

Mr Blenkinsop was forthright about his reasons for standing down after seven years in Parliament, citing “irreconcilable differences” with the Labour leader.

He said on his personal website: “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.”

Rob Marris, Wolverhampton South West

Mr Marris will step down from a seat which the Conservatives will see as ripe for the taking as he had a majority of just 801 at the 2015 election.

He served in the shadow Treasury team under Jeremy Corbyn until he quit midway through a committee meeting, telling MPs he could not serve under his leadership.

His statement explaining why he will not stand in the forthcoming election simply says he believes it is the right time to go.

“At my age and after 11 years in Parliament, I have decided that it’s time to step down and support a new Labour candidate for the city.”

Pat Glass, North West Durham

The MP, who became shadow education secretary under Jeremy Corbyn for just two days before resigning, had already announced she would step down in 2020 when the next election was expected.

Steve Rotherham, Liverpool Walton

A Corbynite who served as the Labour leader’s closest aide, Mr Rotherham is expected to stand down because he is running to be Liverpool’s new metro mayor.

His constituency is said to be the safest Labour seat in the country. Rumours have circulated that Mr Corbyn’s son Seb might contest the seat, but these have been denied.

Iain Wright, Hartlepool

The MP said in his statement only that he wants to do “other things” after being in Parliament since 2004, when he succeeded Peter Mandelson. The seat is understood to be one of Ukip’s key targets.

Andrew Smith, Oxford East

The long-serving MP and former chief Treasury secretary cited his age as the reason for stepping down in his statement to his constituents.

Fiona MacTaggart, Slough

One of just 13 MPs to vote against holding the snap election, she wrote in a letter to Labour colleagues than she had become “bored by the political squabbles over personalities and I know I don’t still have the passion which has driven my politics for 20 years.”

Lib Dems

John Pugh, Southport

The Liberal Democrats are hoping to utilise their pro-Remain position to recapture some of the seats they lost in 2015, but one of their nine MPs has announced he is standing down. The 68-year-old entered Parliament in 2001.


Douglas Carswell (Clacton)

He was the party’s only MP until he resigned from the party amid fierce in-fighting and declared himself an independent, having previously defected from the Conservatives to Ukip.

Former Ukip donor Arron Banks had announced his intention to stand in the Clacton constituency.

Mr Carswell said in his statement he intends to vote Conservative in the election, and that he is looking forward to “being able to read newspapers without first appearing in them.”

Nigel Farage, who is not an elected MP, has also confirmed he will not be standing for election in June.

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