Harriet Harman To Stand Down After 40 Years In Parliament

Veteran Labour MP Harriet Harman has announced she will not be standing at the next general election as she celebrated nearly 40 years in parliament.

Harman, who was elected in 1982 as the MP for Camberwell and Peckham, said it had been an “overwhelming honour” to represent her constituents and that she would leave the House of Commons with her “enthusiasm for politics undimmed”.

Alongside a statement, she wrote on Twitter: “After nearly 40 years in parliament I won’t be standing again at the next election.

“It’s been a great honour to be an MP and to represent Camberwell & Peckham since 1982. I will do that with complete commitment and enthusiasm up until the last day.”

During her time in parliament Harman — who as “mother of the House” is the longest continuously serving female MP in parliament — has held top posts in government under Tony Blair, including as she secretary of state for social security and the first-ever minister for women.

She was also appointed as acting leader when both Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband stood down following the general elections defeats of 2010 and 2015, respectively.

She also served as deputy leader from 2007 to 2015.

Harman has often spoken about the sexism she endured during her time in parliament — including having to endure jibes of “stupid cow” from across the chamber.

Her fight for equal rights was embodied by the 2010 Equality Act, which legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society.

In her Twitter thread announcing her resignation, Harman revealed that she had fought 10 general elections as well as serving under seven prime ministers and eight Labour leaders.

She has spoken in the Commons 9,850 times since November 1982.

Last week fellow veteran Labour MP Margaret Hodge also revealed she would be standing down ahead of the next election, while Barry Sheerman, Labour’s longest serving MP, also announced he would retire.

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