Dugher departs as Labour starts election campaign

THE DECISION of a second senior Yorkshire MP to stand down tonight threatened to drown out the opening salvos of Labour's General Election campaign.

Barnsley East MP Michael Dugher

Barnsley East MP Michael Dugher, the former shadow culture secretary, revealed he would not contest his seat two days after former Home Secretary Alan Johnson confirmed he is quitting his Hull West seat.

Mr Dugher has been a fierce critics of Mr Corbyn who sacked him from the Labour frontbench last year.

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He has also recently clashed publicly with local activists from the Momentum group which was born out of Mr Corbyn’s campaign for the Labour leadership.

In a statement, Mr Dugher said: “As someone who grew up in a South Yorkshire pit village very close to my Barnsley constituency, I have been proud beyond all words to represent the great people of Barnsley East. I will always be grateful for their support and friendship.

“I have worked for the Labour movement for nearly all of the past 20 years. Throughout that time I have always tried to fight for a Labour party that is in touch with working class people and one that can get into government so we can actually do something to really help people.

“I wish the party and more importantly the people of Barnsley nothing but the best for the future. There are always lots of reasons when you make any big decisions.

“It’s time now for me to make a difference in life outside of politics. It’s also time that I do what is best for my wife and children, whom I love with all my heart.”

Labour’s national campaign co-ordinator yesterday told Jeremy Corbyn supporters they have to get out and win votes if the party is to have a chance of taking key seats in Yorkshire.

Andrew Gwynne urged the thousands of members who have joined Labour in the last two years in support of Mr Corbyn to unite with long-time activists on the campaign trail.

Speaking at a Labour campaign event in Morley, Mr Gwynne said: “This is their time isn’t it? Many of those people joined the Labour Party since 2015 because they had a vision of a different kind of politics, a new politics, and that is what we are putting to the British people.”

He added: “Those people that support that vision of a different kind of new politics, this is their chance to join us on the doorstep, knocking on doors, speaking to people and selling this different vision, this vision of a fairer and better Britain after seven years of Tory austerity.”