Kate Hoey to bow out as Labour MP ahead of next election
Co Antrim-born former Labour 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 constituency she would "not seek re-election as a Labour candidate".
Mallusk native 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.
The 1966 Northern Ireland high jump champion also served as Sports Minister in Tony Blair's Government from 1999 to 2001.
Announcing her intention to stand down on Twitter, the former Belfast Royal Academy pupil said: "Whoever is fortunate enough to be the next MP for Vauxhall I wish them well."
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 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," she added.
"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."
Last year the founder member of the London Northern Ireland Supporters' Club suffered a vote of no confidence from her local party, which accused her of ignoring the views of her constituents over Brexit.
The Borough of Lambeth, which includes the Vauxhall constituency, voted 78.6% to stay in the European Union in the 2016 referendum - the highest proportion of Remain voters of any area aside from Gibraltar.
Ms Hoey campaigned with Nigel Farage in September 2018 for Leave Means Leave, a cross-party group, and was pictured with him during a Vote Leave campaign event on a boat on the River Thames before the EU referendum in 2016.
Later, in a post-election Brexit article, she wrote: "We don't have to celebrate the success of the Brexit Party, but we do need to acknowledge it."
She added that "it makes sense to me that the Brexit Party should be included in the negotiations going forward" and "it was surprising that any (Labour Leavers) voted Labour".