Labour’s Rosie Cooper has announced that she is resigning as MP for West Lancashire, triggering a by-election in the seat expected to take place in the autumn.
Cooper, who has represented the constituency in parliament since 2005, revealed in a statement today that she would be standing down as an MP to take up the position of chair of Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust.
The Labour MP said it had been an “incredible honour and privilege” to serve the people of West Lancashire for 17 years, adding: “I have loved every minute, even in the most difficult times.”
“There is no question I am very sad that my time in West Lancashire has come to an end. I will 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,” she declared.
Labour said a by-election in the seat would take place “this autumn”. Cooper won the seat for a fifth time at the 2019 election with a majority of 8,336.
Cooper noted in her statement that the announcement would “come as a surprise” to many people as she had recently secured reselection as Labour’s candidate for West Lancashire at the next general election.
She said: “The decision to apply for the role was taken after a considerable period of soul searching and reflection. The events I have faced over the last few years are well documented and undoubtedly have taken their toll.”
Neo-Nazi Jack Renshaw admitted in 2018 that he had plotted to murder Cooper the previous year, including purchasing a 48cm knife. He was sentenced to life in prison in 2019, with a minimum term of 20 years.
Cooper said in her statement today: “The National Health Service is one of my passions. Prior to entering parliament, I had dedicated many years of service to the NHS and have been able to serve on the health and social care select committee during my time as MP.
“To return to the NHS as chairman of Mersey Care felt like the right opportunity at the right time. This appointment means I am unable to continue with my other passion of representing the people of West Lancashire as their MP, being their voice and fighting their corner as I have done since 2005.
“When I was first elected I promised to be West Lancashire’s voice in parliament. Since then, I have done my very best to deliver on that promise.
“Working together with people across the constituency, I believe we have achieved a lot. I am very proud that we have worked hard to solve the problems that my constituents have faced.”
Commenting on Cooper’s announcement, Labour leader Keir Starmer said: “Rosie’s commitment to West Lancashire has been inspiring.
“As well as championing her constituents for 17 years, she paved the way for the deaf community and future generations by securing the British Sign Language Act. I wish her all the best in her new role and for the future.”