Labour former minister Kate Hoey has announced she will stand down as the MP for Vauxhall at the next election.
The prominent Brexiteer said that after 30 years representing the mainly Remain-supporting constituency she would “not seek re-election as a Labour candidate”.
There had been calls for her deselection after appearing on the campaign trail and supporting Nigel Farage on social media.
Labour MP Kate Hoey has hit back at critics who claim she should have been expelled from the party for sharing a stage with Nigel Farage.
Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s former spin doctor, was expelled from Labour for backing the Liberal Democrats in the European elections.
Labour rules say members who support a party other than Labour are automatically ineligible for membership.
Ms Hoey campaigned with Mr Farage in September 2018 for Leave Means Leave, a cross-party pro-Brexit group, at the University of Bolton Stadium.
She was at another Leaves Means Leave rally in January at Central Hall in London, with both events also attended by Conservative MPs such as Esther McVey and David Davis.
Ms Hoey was elected to the London seat in 1989, and has served as a junior minister in the Home Office and Department of National Heritage during her time in Parliament.
Announcing her intention to stand down on Twitter, Ms Hoey said: “Whoever is fortunate enough to be the next MP for Vauxhall I wish them well.”
Hoey courted criticism from the Labour Party and from Irish political figures in February 2018 after she said the Good Friday Agreement was “not sustainable in the long term”. These comments followed similar remarks by Eurosceptic Conservative politicians Daniel Hannan and Owen Paterson.
Owen Smith, the Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, said the remarks by Hannan, Paterson and Hoey were a “concerted, transparent effort to undermine the GFA…driven by their blind, misplaced faith in Brexit” and was “reckless and utterly wrong”.
Later last year, Hoey was one of five Labour MPs who defied the Labour whip in order to vote with the government on a Brexit amendment, which, if passed, would have required the UK to remain a member of a customs union with the EU in the event of no other arrangements on free trade and no arrangements for no hard border in Ireland.
The UK Government was against this amendment and would have lost the vote without Hoey and the other Labour rebels, who possibly saved the Government from defeat.
A few days later her Constituency Labour Party members passed a motion calling for the Labour whip to be withdrawn from Hoey and for her to become ineligible to be a future Labour Party parliamentary candidate.
Eurosceptic and libertarian, Hoey has often rebelled against her party.
She was a prominent critic of the ban on handguns and, in an interview in Sporting Gun magazine, voiced her support for fox hunting. She has voted against Labour government policy on the war in Iraq, foundation hospitals, university tuition and top-up fees, ID cards and extended detention without trial.
She was a leading Labour rebel supporting a referendum on the EU Lisbon Treaty. Hoey has also opposed the smoking ban in clubs and pubs, reclassification of cannabis from a Class B to Class C and originally opposed devolution.
She also favours stricter controls on immigration, tougher welfare reform, withdrawal from the European Union, English Votes for English Laws, grammar schools, marriage tax allowances, free schools and academies. She is a critic of the BBC and she also spoke in support of the election of unionist MPs in Northern Ireland.
In a letter to her constituents, Ms Hoey wrote: “Having stated at the 2015 General Election that I would not seek re-election in 2020 I was persuaded to fight the unexpected General Election of 2017.
“Now that the national Labour Party has started the process for the 2022 election I have decided that after 30 years as the MP for Vauxhall I will not seek re-election as a Labour candidate.”
She said she would “continue every single day to give my all to help constituents in Vauxhall and to campaign for policies that make life better for residents” until the next general election.
“I will carry on until a general election serving with the energy, honesty and integrity that I have tried to bring to public service my whole life.
“It remains a huge privilege to serve this special part of London. I have had wonderful staff over the years some with me for over 20 years and I thank them all for their personal support.
“I am profoundly grateful to those party members, local residents, community groups and trade unions with whom I have worked and campaigned over so many years.”