Kate Hoey, the Labour MP, Brexiteer and serial rebel, has today announced plans to stand down at the next election. In a letter announcing her retirement, the MP for Vauxhall promises to carry on until a general election (whether that’s this year or 2022) ‘serving with the energy, honesty and integrity that I have tried to bring to public service my whole life’. Her decision comes after the Labour party gave its MPs the deadline of today to say whether they wished to seek re-election. That deadline led many to worry that it could lead to deselection attempts by local members after the threshold to spark a re-selection contest was reduced to 33 per cent of the Constituency Labour Party (CLP).
Was this a factor in Hoey’s decision? Given that Hoey previously lost a non-binding no-confidence vote by her local party over her pro-Brexit position (sparked by her decision to rebel in a crunch customs union vote), it likely has been on her mind. However, Hoey was also dismissive of that vote and throughout her career has shown that she isn’t one to be pushed into a decision just because a loud group are against her. It’s also worth pointing out that Hoey previously said she would not fight the 2020 election, but decided to stay on when the 2017 snap election was called. It follows that this is a decision she has been pondering for some time, regardless of the local opposition to her Brexit position.
When I interviewed Hoey earlier this year on the Women with Balls podcast, she hinted that she could soon be departing Parliament. Hoey said she wanted Brexit delivered before she retired: ‘If they want rid of me they’d better get out of the EU as quickly as possible.’