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27 May 2024

Five Labour MPs announce they will stand down at General Election

27 May 2024

Five Labour MPs, including shadow ministers, have announced that they will stand down from parliament at the General Election.

Chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party John Cryer joined Kevin Brennan, Barbara Keeley, John Spellar and Virendra Sharma in announcing on Monday that he would not be contesting his seat.

Mr Cryer said he wanted to spend more time with his young children and that the next parliament was “likely to be extremely busy”.

The MP for Leyton and Wanstead added that the next government would “inherit a very tough situation”.

In a letter to his constituents, posted on social media, Mr Cryer said: “This has been an extremely difficult decision, perhaps the most difficult I have ever had to make.

“It has been an immense privilege to have served as your MP for the past 14 years. As you may know, I have two young children and I feel I should try to spend more time with them.”

Mr Cryer, who was MP for Hornchurch from 1997 to 2005, is married to Labour’s deputy national campaign co-ordinator and MP for Lewisham West and Penge Ellie Reeves.

Labour’s shadow minister for victims and sentencing Mr Brennan said he had initially intended to stand again, but decided to step down “after discussing it with my family over the bank holiday weekend”.

The Cardiff West MP said in a statement: “The job of a Member of Parliament is immensely rewarding but hugely demanding for the individual and their loved ones.

“I have always enjoyed its intensity and challenge, but after surgery for prostate cancer a small seed of doubt was sown as to whether I should continue in such a full-on role.

“Standing again would mean making a commitment to perform the demanding duties of an MP close to my 70th birthday. This has led me to conclude that this is the right moment to stand down.”

Labour’s shadow minister for music and tourism Ms Keeley said it had “been an honour” to serve as a government whip and deputy leader of the House of Commons during the last Labour government.

The MP for Worsley and Eccles South said in a statement posted on social media: “Recently, I have had treatment in hospital in London after which I was meant to have a six-week recovery period.

“I was back at work in Parliament within two weeks but then the General Election was called unexpectedly early.

“Thinking about the demands of the campaign, including supporting Labour colleagues in battleground seats, has made me realise that now is the time to step aside for a new Labour candidate for the constituency.”

Warley MP Mr Spellar said it had been an “honour and pleasure” to represent the people of Smethwick and Oldbury for over 30 years.

Mr Spellar served in various ministerial roles during Tony Blair’s government, with his briefs including the armed forces, transport, and Northern Ireland.

Outgoing Ealing Southall MP Virendra Sharma said Labour had “gone from our worst result in a century, to the edge of government”.

In a letter to his local party, he said: “As a British-Indian and as a Hindu, as a Labour member, councillor and MP I have never struggled to reconcile those different, but complimentary, identities.

“Over nearly 50 years I have served the party in one form or another. Now I believe the time has come for another chapter to begin.”

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