A growing number of Labour MPs are planning to quit ahead of the June general election

LONDON —  Labour MP Iain Wright, chair of the business select committee, became the fifth Labour MP to announce that he will not stand for re-election in June.

Wright, MP for Hartlepool, and Andrew Smith, MP for Oxford East, both said on Wednesday that they would stand down at the snap general election, which is still pending parliamentary approval. 

They join fellow Labour MPs Alan Johnson, Tom Blenkinsop, and Pat Glass, who announced on Tuesday that they would not seek re-election.

Wright, a prominent critic of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, said in a letter to his constituents that he was stepping down to do “other things”:

Smith, meanwhile, said it was “time for someone else to take forward the work of serving local people”:

When a secret list drawn up by Corbyn allies ranking Labour MPs according to their loyalty to the party leader was leaked last year, Smith was classed as “Neutral but not hostile.”

Glass, MP for North West Durham and another of Corbyn’s numerous critics within his own party, said: “I’ve already made my decision and that decision stands. It’s the right thing for me and my constituents.”

“I will not be seeking re-election in June. There will be a new North West Durham MP on June 9.”

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.”

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