Labour MP Rosie Cooper tees up by-election in safe West Lancashire seat as she stands down to take NHS job… but ‘King of the North’ Andy Burnham is ‘not interested’ in a Commons return

  • Labour MP Rosie Cooper announced she is standing down to take top NHS job
  • Ms Cooper is sitting on majority of more than 8,000 in her West Lancashire seat
  • Manchester mayor Andy Burnham playing down the idea he could make a return 

Labour’s Rosie Cooper today teed up a by-election by announcing she is standing down for a top NHS job.

The MP said she is ‘unable to continue’ representing West Lancashire after accepting a new role as Chair of Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust.

The seat returned a solid 8,000 majority for Labour even during the Tory rout in 2019, but still presents an early test for Liz Truss.

There was immediate speculation that Manchester mayor Andy Burnham could seek a return to the Commons in the contest this autumn, but he is apparently ‘not interested’.

In a statement on Twitter today, Ms Cooper said: ‘This appointment means I am unable to continue with my other passion of representing the people of West Lancashire as their MP, being their voice and fighting their corner as I have done since 2005.’

Labour’s Rosie Cooper today teed up a by-election by announcing she is standing down for a top NHS job

The seat returned a solid 8,000 majority for Labour even during the Tory rout in 2019, but still presents an early test for Liz Truss (right) against Keir Starmer’s (left) party

The statement does not give detail on the timing of Ms Cooper’s departure as an MP. She only recently secured reselection for the next general election.

Ms Cooper went on: ‘It has been an incredible honour and privilege to have served the people of West Lancashire for the last 17 years. I have loved every minute, even in the most difficult times.

‘I appreciate this will come as a surprise to many people having recently secured reselection to stand as West Lancashire’s Labour Party Candidate for the next general election. This was prior to the recruitment process for the Mersey Care position.

‘This decision to apply for the role was taken after a considerable period of soul searching and reflection. The events I have faced over the last few years are well documented and undoubtedly have taken their toll.’

Jack Renshaw is serving a life sentence for plotting to murder the MP in 2017.

Ms Cooper added: ‘The National Health Service is one of my passions. Prior to entering Parliament, I had dedicated many years of service to the NHS and have been able to serve on the Health and Social Care Committee during my time as MP.

‘To return to the NHS as chairman of Mersey Care felt like the right opportunity at the right time. This appointment means I am unable to continue with my other passion of representing the people of West Lancashire as their MP, being their voice and fighting their corner as I have done since 2005.’

Apart from the looming West Lancashire by-election, there is likely to be one in Mid Bedforshire – with former minister Nadine Dorries expected to be handed a peerage in Boris Johnson’s resignation honours. 

There was immediate speculation that Manchester mayor Andy Burnham could seek a return to the Commons in the contest this autumn, but he is apparently ‘not interested’

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