LONDON — Two Labour MPs have confirmed they will stand down before the snap general election with more expected to do the same.
Former cabinet minister Alan Johnson and MP Tom Blenkinsop both announced on Monday that they will not be standing for the Labour Party in their constituencies at the June election.
This comes after Prime Minister Theresa May announced that she will ask the Commons to approve a motion for a general election to take place in just six weeks’ time on Thursday, June 8.
Johnson, who had planned to retire after 2020 when the election was initially scheduled to take place, said in a statement it made sense for him to step down from Westminster politics ahead of the June vote.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Blenkinsop, the MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, said he could not in “good faith” fight a general election under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.
In a statement published on his website, he said: “I will not seeking re-election as the member of Parliament for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland.
“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 7 years.”
A number of other Labour MPs are expected to stand down in the coming days, sources have told Business Insider.
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