Huge blow to Starmer as MP's shock resignation rocks Labour Party days before conference

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Labour’s Rosie Cooper announced she was quitting as an MP this morning, in a surprise announcement set to cause a by-election. The West Lancashire MP said she was “unable to continue” in her job after accepting the position of Chair of the Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Labour won the seat at the last election by a majority of 8,336. The party has held the seat since 1992.

A by-election caused by Ms Cooper’s decision would be the first major electoral test for Liz Truss since she entered No10.

Polls indicate the Tories still lag behind Labour in national opinion polls following a change in leader. However, the death of Queen Elizabeth II has somewhat stifled Ms Truss’s ability to implement her agenda.

The by-election should be a relatively easy win for the Labour Party.

Ms Cooper did not make clear the exact timing of when she was planning to step down, but said in a statement: “It has been an incredible honour and privilege to have served the people of West Lancashire for the last 17 years.

“I have loved every minute, even in the most difficult times.”

She added that she understood “this will come as a surprise to many people”.

“There is no question I am very sad that my time in West Lancashire has come to an end.

“I leave certain that I gave everything I had to this role which I love, and to people who have come to mean a great deal to me.

“To the residents of West Lancashire, I wish you the very best for the future and I will continue to take an interest from a distance.”

She had just recently secured reselection to stand in her constituency as the Labour Party candidate for the next general election.

But Ms Cooper said she chose to apply for the NHS role “after a considerable period of soul searching and reflection”.

She added: The events I have faced over the last few years are well documented and undoubtedly have taken their toll.”

Jack Renshaw is serving a life sentence for plotting to murder the MP in 2017.

The announcement comes just days before Labour MPs and members gather for their annual party conference in Liverpool this weekend.

Sir Keir wants to use the four-day gathering to project an image of a Government-in-waiting with him as the next Prime Minister.

He is set to face backlash from those on the Left of the party who have accused him of failing to put forward a radical policy agenda.

Labour will gather in Liverpool from September 25-28.



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