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UK: Chuka Umunna shelves Labour Party leadership bid

By The Rainbow
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The United Kingdom Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna has withdrawn from the Labour party leadership contest, just days after throwing his hat into the ring.

The MP, 36, said in a statement that he was not comfortable with the level of pressure and scrutiny that came with being a leadership candidate. Mr Umunna also cited concerns about the impact of the bid on his family. BBC political editor Nick Robinson said the MP's team insisted no “unwelcome press story” lay behind the move.

But Mr Umunna had been shocked by the level of scrutiny of himself, his mother, sister and girlfriend, he said. A rising star of the party, Mr Umunna was first elected to Parliament in 2010 before joining the shadow cabinet. He confirmed his candidacy for the Labour leadership via a post on his Facebook page on 12 May, saying the party under Ed Miliband had failed to appeal to enough voters in England. But on Friday he said he had not found the leadership bid to be “a comfortable experience”.

The shadow business secretary has been distressed by the degree of scrutiny he, his family and his girlfriend have come under since he declared his intention to stand for the labour leadership. Friends of Mr Umunna deny that he is nervous of not getting the support of enough MPs to run for the leadership; they point out that he already has half the necessary names and that there are some weeks to go.

He said he thought he had understood “the scrutiny and attention a leadership contest would bring”, but added: “However, since the night of our defeat last week I have been subject to the added level of pressure that comes with being a leadership candidate.” The shadow business secretary said he had wondered if it was too soon for him to stand for the leadership, and “I fear it was.”

He also cited concerns about the impact on “the rest of one's life” and those close to him. “Consequently, after further reflection, I am withdrawing my candidacy,” he said. Mr Umunna said he would continue to serve as shadow business secretary and hoped to “play a leading role” in Labour's campaign to keep the UK in the EU during the forthcoming in/out referendum. -BBC.

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