Ex-Labour MP John Woodcock announces he will not stand in General Election

Labour turned independent MP John Woodcock has announced that he will not stand in the forthcoming General Election because he is expecting a baby with his journalist partner.

Mr Woodcock and The Spectator magazine’s assistant editor Isabel Hardman made the announcement through a letter to his Barrow and Furness constituents.

He said the “unexpected but wonderful piece of news” means his life “has to change”, but that it had been the “greatest honour” of his life representing the area for nine-and-a-half years.

Mr Woodcock, who said his two daughters live with his ex-wife in Edinburgh, wrote: “I cannot in good conscience promise to combine being the dad my girls need in Edinburgh, the committed public servant you deserve in Furness, and also bring up a baby in London where (Ms Hardman) works as a journalist.

“Something has to give, and I must put my family first.”

He added: “As your MP, I have never shied away from speaking out and going against the grain where necessary, no matter how much hot water that has got me into over the years.

“As you can imagine, I have strong views on the choice you must make in the election on 12 December, but those are best left to the campaign itself.”

He quit Labour with a scathing attack on Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership last year, saying the party leader would pose a “clear risk to UK national security as prime minister”.

Mr Woodcock, 41, had been sitting as an independent since having the Labour whip withdrawn in April 2018 pending investigation of an allegation of sexual harassment.

He denies allegations over supposedly inappropriate texts and emails to a former female staff member between 2014 and 2016.

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