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Labour’s Jim Fitzpatrick votes against snap election, but denies plan to quit as MP

PUBLISHED: 15:50 19 April 2017 | UPDATED: 09:36 20 April 2017

MP Jim Fitzpatrick at Merchant Navy Day at Tower Hill, September 2016

MP Jim Fitzpatrick at Merchant Navy Day at Tower Hill, September 2016

Archant

Poplar and Limehouse MP Jim Fitzpatrick who was one of 13 voting in the commons this-afternoon against having a snap general election has denied he is standing down.

Jim Fitzptarick pictured previously in the Commons Jim Fitzptarick pictured previously in the Commons

The Poplar and Limehouse MP has told the East London Advertiser this-afternoon that he intends fighting to be returned on June 8.

He was among eight other Labour members to reject Tory Prime Minister Theresa May’s move to go to the polls, but the Commons vote was overwhelming for the election in seven weeks’ time.

“I would like to confirm I will be seeking re-election as MP for Poplar and Limehouse,” he told the paper.

“I had previously said I would stand down in 2020—but it’s only 2017.”

Rumours have been circulating that he planned to step down and favour either Tower Hamlets councillor Joshua Peck or Labour Party activist Chris Weavers to take his place as candidate for Poplar and Limehouse.

But Jim was adamant he was not throwing in the towel. Instead, he accused Tory Theresa May of “opportunism” in her U-turn.

“I didn’t foresee an early election,” he added. “I was shocked by the Prime Minister’s announcement, especially given the number of times she said she wouldn’t call one.

“It’s sheer political opportunism at a time of great uncertainty for the country.”

The Tories, he says, are focusing “solely on Brexit” in the coming weeks, but the election was about “far, far more than that”.

He told the Advertiser only yesterday that he was ready for an election, despite his surprise at having to go to the polls.

His campaign will focus on falling living standards, stagnating wages, slashed local council budgets, rising child poverty, crisis in social care, school budget cut and “the NHS in crisis”.

But 174 of his Labour colleagues backed the government motion today for a June election under the ‘let out’ clause of Parliament’s Fixed Term Act, along with 325 Conservatives, eight Liberal Democrats, eight Democratic Unionists, three Plaid Cymru, two Ulster Unionists, the Green MP and an independent. The Scottish Nationalists abstained.

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