Chuka Umunna Withdraws From Labour Leadership Battle

James Drury
By James Drury Last edited 33 months ago
Chuka Umunna Withdraws From Labour Leadership Battle

Chuka UmunnaGB Labour PPC Streatham

Just days after announcing he was standing to be the next leader of the Labour Party, Streatham MP Chuka Umunna has withdrawn, saying he's "uncomfortable" with the scrutiny and pressure he and those close to him are under.

Here's his statement:

"Shortly before the election campaign, I made the decision, in the event that Labour was defeated and a new Leader was to be elected, to stand for the leadership of the party if there was a desire in the party for me to do so.

"I dearly hoped Labour would win the election and it was a decision I would not have to implement.

"I also thought I understood the scrutiny and attention a leadership contest would bring.

"As a member of the Shadow Cabinet, I am used to a level of attention which is part and parcel of the job. I witnessed the 2010 leadership election process close up and thought I would be comfortable with what it involved.

"However since the night of our defeat last week I have been subject to the added level of pressure that comes with being a leadership candidate.

"I have not found it to be a comfortable experience.

"One can imagine what running for leader can be like, understand its demands and the attention but nothing compares to actually doing it and the impact on the rest of one's life.

"Consequently after further reflection I am withdrawing my candidacy.

"I apologise to all those who have kindly supported and encouraged me to do this and for disappointing them. I know this will come as I surprise to many but I had always wondered whether it was all too soon for me to launch this leadership bid — I fear it was.

"Most importantly, I continued to have very real concerns and worry about this bid's impact on those close to me.

"I intend to carry on playing my full role as a proud member of our Shadow Cabinet taking on the Tories. I also hope to play a leading role in Labour’s campaign to keep the UK in the EU during the forthcoming referendum which is absolutely crucial. Most importantly, I will as ever continue to serve the area I know and love — the Streatham parliamentary constituency."

The MP recently came under attack from The Conservative Woman co-editor Laura Perrins who wrote a blog post saying he is too old to have a girlfriend but not to have a wife.

There are rumours reported by political blog Guido Fawkes that Umunna is being urged to stand as Labour's candidate for London Mayor. There's been a flurry of announcements recently including popular Tooting MP Sadiq Khan, Hackney MP Diane Abbott and transport expert Christian Wolmar, while Tottenham MP David Lammy threw his hat into the ring last year. Umunna would be a popular choice, and winning the Mayoral election would put him in a good position to challenge for the Labour leadership after the next election.

Last Updated 15 May 2015