MP quits to focus on climate campaign

One of Parliament's leading environmental campaigners will quit as an MP at the next election to devote his time to the fight against climate change.

Colin Challen, who heads the all-party parliamentary climate change group, which he set up two years ago, announced his decision yesterday in a letter to his local Labour Party in Morley, West Yorkshire.

Mr Challen said he wants to spend more time in the developing world finding practical ways to reverse climate change damage. He also wants to campaign for a new international agreement to come into effect when the Kyoto protocol runs out in 2012. He will work with Sir Nicholas Stern, author of last year's Treasury report on climate change, and with the Centre for Energy Policy Studies at Cambridge University.

His departure will trigger a battle for the new Morley and Outwood constituency, which replaces Mr Challen's old seat in the boundary changes that take effect at the next election. One name already being mentioned as his replacement is Ed Balls, the Treasury minister whose own seat disappears in the boundary changes.

Mr Challen said in his resignation letter: "The now very obvious warming of the earth means political leaders around the world must grasp the nettle and take very serious urgent action to address the climate change problem."

Mr Challen, 53, was elected MP for Morley and Rothwell, his home constituency, in 2001.

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