General election 2024: Meet the former MPs standing again for Labour

Daniel Green
Douglas Alexander
Photo: Dominic Dudley/Shutterstock

Candidates from across the country have been selected in anticipation of a general election later this year, but some of those running might be more familiar than others.

Almost a dozen of those announced so far are former Labour MPs, hoping for a chance to return to the House of Commons. Many of those looking to return to Parliament are casualties of Labour’s defeat at the 2019 general election.

So who are the former MPs looking for a second stint in Westminster?

Douglas Alexander

Serving as transport secretary under Tony Blair and international development secretary under Gordon Brown, Douglas Alexander is the only former Labour MP with experience in government hoping to return to Westminster. 

Alexander was the MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South and had served in Parliament from 1997 until his defeat to the SNP’s Mhairi Black in 2015. He is now standing in the constituency of East Lothian, a key Labour target seat in Scotland. The constituency is currently represented by Alba Party MP Kenny MacAskill.

Heidi Alexander

Former Lewisham East MP Heidi Alexander is also hoping to return to Parliament at the next general election. Alexander served as shadow health secretary under Jeremy Corbyn before resigning in the aftermath of the EU referendum and calling for a new party leader. 

She quit as an MP in May 2018 to become deputy mayor of London for transport under Sadiq Khan and helped secure a bailout for Transport for London in the wake of the pandemic. Alexander, who was born in Swindon, is now Labour’s candidate for the South Swindon constituency.

Mary Creagh

Former MP for Wakefield Mary Creagh is looking to return to Parliament after losing her seat at the last general election. During her time in Westminster, she served in Ed Milband’s shadow cabinet as shadow environment secretary, shadow transport secretary and shadow international development secretary. She also made a bid to become Labour leader in 2015, but withdrew her candidacy. 

After leaving the frontbench, Creagh became chair of the environmental audit select committee in 2016 but lost her constituency to the then-Conservative MP Imran Ahmad Khan in 2019. Khan would later be convicted of child sexual assault, with a by-election won by Labour’s Simon Lightwood

Creagh is standing for election as Labour’s candidate for Coventry North East, a traditionally safe seat for the party.

Sir Nicholas Dakin

Former Scunthorpe MP Sir Nicholas Dakin hopes to win back the constituency he lost at the last general election to the Conservatives. During his almost ten years in Westminster, he served as an opposition whip under Ed Miliband, as well as being appointed shadow schools minister in Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow team. 

However, he quit the latter role after the EU referendum, citing a loss of confidence in his leadership. He backed Owen Smith in his failed leadership bid before rejoining the opposition whips’ office.

He lost his seat in 2019 by more than 6,000 votes to Conservative candidate Holly Mumby-Croft and was knighted in 2020 for political service.

James Frith

Once included in a Young Fabians list of 2015 general election candidates named Fifteen for 2015, James Frith was elected as an MP for Bury North in 2017 but lost it at the following election by 105 votes and three recounts. 

Following his election loss, he told LabourList to visit his former constituency to better understand the seats they need to win at this year’s general election and criticised the 2019 election campaign for “sending hundreds of activists to Tory seats that we had no hope of winning”.

Frith is hoping to return as the MP for Bury North at the next election.

John Grogan

Serving first as MP for Selby and most recently as the MP for Keighly between 2017 and 2019, John Grogan championed a range of local causes in his constituency, including a new police station and a campaign to open a local railway line.

However, he lost his seat to the Conservative candidate Robbie Moore in 2019 by just over 2,000 votes. Grogan has been picked as Labour’s candidate for the Keighly constituency for the next election.

Melanie Onn

Having spending ten years working in Labour’s head office, Melanie Onn became MP for Great Grimsby in 2015 and served in the shadow frontbench as shadow deputy Commons leader. However, she quit the frontbench in opposition to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership and backed Owen Smith in the subsequent leadership election.

Onn returned to the Labour frontbench in 2017 as shadow housing minister, but resigned for a second time to vote against a second Brexit referendum in 2019. She later backed Boris Johnson’s withdrawal agreement in a vote in the autumn of 2019. 

Onn lost her seat to the Conservative candidate Lia Nici in the general election that year by more than 7,000 votes. While she admitted she was expecting to lose, she said she had not anticipated that the margin of her defeat would be so great.

She has been selected as the Labour candidate for the redrawn constituency of Great Grimsby and Cleethorpes.

Jo Platt

Following Andy Burham’s decision to stand down as an MP after being elected as Mayor of Greater Manchester, Jo Platt became Leigh’s first female MP in 2017. She was appointed as parliamentary private secretary to Angela Rayner, the then-shadow education secretary, before Platt was promoted as shadow minister for the Cabinet Office.

However, she lost her seat at the general election to Conservative candidate James Grundy. Platt’s defeat was the largest 2017 majority overturned by the Tories and it was the first time Labour had lost the seat since 1922. Platt has been selected to fight the next election as Labour’s candidate in Leigh.

Emma Reynolds

Serving as political adviser to Robin Cook in Brussels and later working in Downing Street as a special advisor to Geoff Hoon, Emma Reynolds entered Parliament as the MP for Wolverhampton North East in 2010. During her time in Parliament, she served on the shadow frontbench under Ed Miliband as foreign affairs minister and later Europe minister.

She was promoted to the shadow frontbench as shadow housing minister and later shadow communities secretary, but resigned the latter post following the election of Jeremy Corbyn. Reynolds lost her seat to the Conservatives’ Jane Stevenson in the 2019 election. She now hopes to return to Westminster as the Labour MP for Wycombe at the next election.

Gareth Snell

Following Tristram Hunt’s resignation as MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central in 2017, Gareth Snell won a by-election in the constituency and was re-elected at the general election the following year. However, he was defeated at the 2019 election by Conservative Jo Gideon. 

After leaving Westminster, he became campaign manager for Liam Byrne in his failed attempt to win the West Midlands Mayoral election in 2021. Snell is running as Labour’s candidate to return as the MP for Stoke-on-Trent-Central.

Anna Turley

Anna Turley was elected MP for Redcar in 2015, winning the seat from the Liberal Democrats. While she briefly served as a shadow minister under Jeremy Corbyn, she later became a vocal critic of the Labour leader, arguing the party had “moved too far to the left” under his leadership.

She lost her seat to the Conservatives’ Jacob Young, blaming Corbyn for her loss. Turley has been selected to stand as Labour’s candidate for the Redcar constituency at the next election.

* Note we have not included former Labour MPs looking to run but not as Labour candidates.

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