Ex-MP Greg Mulholland reveals he won’t stand for Leeds seat at next election as he focuses on new campaigning role

Greg Mulholland has revealed he won't stand at the next election. He is pictured in Otley, West Yorkshire. Date: 11th October 2017. Picture James Hardisty.
Greg Mulholland has revealed he won't stand at the next election. He is pictured in Otley, West Yorkshire. Date: 11th October 2017. Picture James Hardisty.
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Former Leeds MP Greg Mulholland has revealed that he will not try to win back his seat at the next election so he can concentrate on his family and a new campaigning role.

Liberal Democrat Mr Mulholland served as Leeds North West MP for 12 years but was unseated by Labour’s Alex Sobel during the snap General Election last summer.

Former Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland, who held the seat for 12 years.

Former Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland, who held the seat for 12 years.

He has told The Yorkshire Post that he has ruled out trying to regain the seat to give himself more time with his family and because it would be a conflict of interest with his new role as specialist campaigning and public affairs consultant.

And the father-of-three said his wife didn’t want him to stand again as his MP’s duties meant he was “rarely around to do normal parental duties” and missed out on time with his daughters.

Mr Mulholland was defending a 2,900 majority going into the surprise election but lost by 4,224 votes, a process he described as “such a shock”.

He said: “One day I was working hard on various issues and envisaging being in the job at least for three more years, then the next an election was called when we were all told that there wouldn’t be one and just eight weeks later I had lost my job, my career, our family income and actually to a great extent, my identity.

Greg Mulholland interview - From shock defeat to looking to the future

“With no possibility of making any alternative plans, as MPs do when is the expected election, this made it very challenging and at first I really didn’t have a clue what I might do next, which is a scary position to be in.

“I was fortunate that an action group I had helped campaign for asked me to do some work for them and so this gave me an alternative potential future to consider.

“As a result, I have set up as a specialist campaigning and public affairs consultant, focusing on challenging issues of injustice or assisting with positive change.

“So whilst I do miss not being able to influence things as MP, I do have the satisfaction that I am able to use my campaigning and communications acumen to continue to campaign for things I believe in.

“Having made the step to an alternative career, albeit one that was not planned, I need to commit to this for the sake of clients, causes I am working on and also my family, rather than looking over my shoulder wondering if I might try to get back into Parliament.

“Financially I and we just couldn’t take the risk of me standing again because in reality it means putting huge amounts of time into campaigning and compromising jobs and careers which we couldn’t risk as things stand.

“Plus as I am now working in campaigning and public affairs, I am dealing with politicians of all parties and so I can’t at the same time be attacking parties and politicians.”

Mr Mulholland said he hoped he would also be able to focus more on music, as his band Summercross has nearly finished its first album, My Northern Heart, and he had written a song for the rugby league charity State of Mind.

The former MP said the 2016 EU referendum had resulted in chaos in the political world and that he hoped “that we do see a much-needed re-alignment of British politics”.

He said: “UK politics is in such turmoil at the moment and this is bewildering for many ordinary people and bad for our country.”

He added: “I am not necessarily saying never stand for Parliament again under any circumstances, but for now it’s not something I will now be thinking about and only if we see real change in British politics would I be prepared to stand again.”