Top contender drops out of Labour leadership contest

An up-and-coming British politician who was considered a frontrunner to replace Labour leader Ed Miliband abruptly withdrew from the contest on Friday, saying he had underestimated the intense scrutiny to which he would be subjected.

Chuka Umunna, who announced his leadership bid just three days ago, blamed the “added level of pressure that comes with being a leadership candidate.”

“I have not found it to be a comfortable experience,” Mr. Umunna, 36, said in a statement. “Most importantly, I continued to have very real concerns and worry about this bid’s impact on those close to me.”

British news media was awash with unsourced reports following the surprise withdrawal, both that a Sunday newspaper was preparing to release damaging information about Mr. Umunna and denials from his camp that this was the case.

Mr. Umunna, a lawyer, is the party’s business spokesman. A relative newcomer to the party, he has risen quickly in its ranks since he was first elected to Parliament five years ago.

Mr. Umunna was one of five Labour politicians who threw their hat in the ring in the past few days after Mr. Miliband resigned last week amid the party’s election defeat.

Mr. Miliband stepped down after his party >lost almost all of its seats in Scotland to the separatist Scottish National Party and ran well behind the winning Conservatives elsewhere.

Nominations for leadership close in June. The new leader will be chosen through a postal ballot of party members and supporters, and announced on September 12, 2015.

The last Labour government was led by Gordon Brown from 2007 to 2010.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 7:23:51 AM |

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