Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland-born MP Hoey hints she could stand in next election but not for Labour

Kate Hoey
Kate Hoey
Jonathan Bell

By Jonathan Bell

The Northern Ireland-born MP Kate Hoey has re-opened the door to standing for election after previously suggesting she would not be seeking to retain her seat.

Ms Hoey told Sky News she only stated she would not be seeking re-election as a Labour MP for Vauxhall in the next election.

Asked if she would stand for another party, possibly Nigel Farage's Brexit Party, she responded: "I doubt it.

"Who knows what would happen in politics in the next couple of weeks.

"I just think that there probably has to be a general election and Jeremy [Corbyn] is going to look very, very silly if he tries to stop an election in any circumstance."

The Labour MP said she would not vote for the business of parliament to be handed over to people who wanted to "stop Brexit".

Ms Hoey said MPs, having voted for Article 50, which stated the UK would leave on a date with or without a deal meant there was a mandate for the UK's departure in any situation - despite MPs rejecting a no-deal Brexit on a number of votes in the Commons.

She said Prime Minister Boris Johnson would be "quite right" to call a general election.

"The reality is parliament has tried to spend a lot of its time to stop Brexit and ignore the results of the referendum," she added.

In July the prominent Brexiteer said that after 30 years representing her 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.

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 had first announced her intention not to stand for re-election after the 2015 election but was persuaded to contest the 2017 snap poll.

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."

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