UK

Labour’s Harriet Harman will quit the Commons at the next election

Labour ex-minister Harriet Harman announces she will quit the Commons at the next election with her ‘feminism and enthusiasm for politics undimmed’ after 40 YEARS as an MP

  • The former Cabinet minister declared she will ‘step back’ at the next election
  • As the longest-serving female MP, 71-year-old is currently ‘Mother of the House’
  • Served in Blair and Brown governments and was also acting leader of the party


Labour’s Harriet Harman has announced she will quit the Commons at the next election after 40 years as an MP.

The former Cabinet minister declared she will ‘step back’ from her role as MP for Camberwell and Peckham when the country next goes to the polls.

But Ms Harman insisted her ‘feminism’ and enthusiasm for politics is still ‘undimmed’. 

As the longest-serving female MP, the 71-year-old is currently ‘Mother of the House’.

Her announcement today made the the latest in a string of long-serving Labour MPs announcing they will not stand for election again.

Last week Dame Margaret Hodge, 77, who was an arch critic of left-wing former leader Jeremy Corbyn, said she would not run in Barking again, after representing it for 30 years.

And Barry Sheerman, 81, who is the longest continuously serving Labour MP, is to step down after representing Huddersfield since 1979.  

Harriet Harman declared she will ‘step back’ from her role as MP for Camberwell and Peckham when the country next goes to the polls

Ms Harman was first elected to the south London seat in 1982 (pictured during the campaign)

Ms Harman was first elected to the south London seat in 1982 (pictured during the campaign)

Ms Harman insisted her 'feminism' and enthusiasm for politics is still 'undimmed'

Ms Harman insisted her ‘feminism’ and enthusiasm for politics is still ‘undimmed’

Margaret Hodge

Barry Sheerman

Last week Dame Margaret Hodge (left) said she would not run in Barking again, after representing it for 30 years. And Barry Sheerman, 81, is to step down after representing Huddersfield since 1979

Ms Harman was first elected to the south London seat in 1982, and has since served in the governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown – as well as stints as deputy party leader and acting party leader.

In an email to constituents, she said: ‘I feel I can leave the House of Commons now confident that Labour is gaining strength under the leadership of Keir Starmer and the new team he has appointed.

‘It has been an overwhelming honour to be Member of Parliament representing and working for the people of Camberwell and Peckham for nearly 40 years.’

Ms Harman served as acting Labour leader in 2015 and deputy labour leader from 2007 to 2015 and has held numerous cabinet and shadow cabinet roles.

Following Tony Blair’s victory in the 1997 election, Ms Harman became secretary of state for social security and the first minister for women.

She added in her email: ‘I entered the Commons as one of only 11 Labour women MPs in a parliament that was 97 per cent men. 

‘Now there are 104 Labour women and across all parties women MPs are a ‘critical mass’.

‘But there remains much more to be done till women genuinely share political power with men on equal terms and until women in this country are equal.

‘I will leave the House of Commons with my feminism, my belief in Labour and my enthusiasm for politics undimmed.’

Her announcement comes after fellow Labour veterans Barry Sheerman and Dame Margaret Hodge announced their plans to stand down at the next general election.

Ms Harman served as a minister when Gordon Brown (centre) was the premier

Ms Harman served as a minister when Gordon Brown (centre) was the premier 

Ms Harman was also a prominent figure when Tony Blair (left in 1997) was the Labour leader and PM

Ms Harman was also a prominent figure when Tony Blair (left in 1997) was the Labour leader and PM 

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