General election: Former Shadow Culture Secretary Michael Dugher to stand down as MP

In a parting shot, the Barnsley East MP says Labour must be a party ‘in touch with working class voters and one that can get into government’

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Michael Dugher has become the 13th Labour MP to announce they will step down at the general election. 

The former shadow Culture Secretary said he was resigning from his Barnsley East seat “with some sadness” after serving seven years as the area's MP.

Mr Dugher, who became an outspoken critic of Jeremy Corbyn after he was sacked from the shadow Cabinet in January 2016, said he wanted to “make a difference in life outside of politics” and spend time with his family. 

He was fired after an interview with House magazine in which the then shadow Culture Secretary criticised Ken Livingstone and Momentum, the pro-Corbyn campaign group. 

“I can’t see the point of Momentum ... their aggression is matched only by their stupidity”, he said.

Announcing his decision to step down, Mr Dugher told the PoliticsHome website: "It is with some sadness I can confirm that I will be standing down from Parliament.

"As someone who grew up in a South Yorkshire pit village very close to my Barnsley constituency, I have been proud beyond all words to represent the great people of Barnsley East. I will always be grateful for their support and friendship.

In what some have interpreted as a parting shot at Mr Corbyn, Mr Dugher said that Labour must be a party “in touch with working-class people” and capable of winning elections.

"I have worked for the Labour movement for nearly all of the past 20 years,” he said. "Throughout that time I have always tried to fight for a Labour party that is in touch with working class people and one that can get into government so we can actually do something to really help people.

“I wish the party and more importantly the people of Barnsley nothing but the best for the future. There are always lots of reasons when you make any big decisions.

“It's time now for me to make a difference in life outside of politics. It's also time that I do what is best for my wife and children, whom I love with all my heart.”

His announcement comes after 12 other Labour MPs said they would not seek re-election on 8 June.

They include Alan Johnson, Andy Burnham, Tom Blenkinsop, Dave Anderson and Gisela Stuart.

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