Tristram Hunt quits for ‘dream job’… and Labour MPs don’t blame him
The ensuing Stoke-on-Trent by-election will be a three-way marginal.
After Jamie Reed resigned his seat in September, it was quickly looked like several of his fellow Labour MPs were planning to follow suit.
"It's only the start," one MP said. "Plenty of other MPs know Corbyn is walking the Labour party off the edge of a cliff. Lots of people are thinking what else to do in life. Better to go as soon as possible than wait until there are dozens of other ex-Labour MPs looking for work once we all lose our seats."
The source added: "If the right offer came in tomorrow, lots of us would be off like a shot.”
Now that offer has come in, as far as Tristram Hunt is concerned. The MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central is standing down to become the new director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, it has emerged.
The news was broken by PoliticsHome, with one Labour MP saying that several of their number would take the same course as Hunt if they could.
"Tristram has been talking about this for a while, so it's no surprise that he's decided to go. There are scores of us who would quit if we had another job to go to because we know that the party has no chance at the next election."
Another Labour MP said: "It's his dream job and I don't blame him for going. Good luck to him and God help the rest of us."
And for good measure, former Labour communications chief Alastair Campbell said Hunt’s decision came as “so many MPs fear Labour [is] going nowhere under Jeremy Corbyn”.
A spokesman for Jeremy Corbyn said: "Jeremy would like to thank Tristram Hunt for his service to the people of Stoke-on-Trent Central and to the Labour Party. Jeremy wishes him well in his future pursuits at the V&A."
In a letter announcing his decision to local party members, Hunt stated: "There were very few jobs that would have convinced me to stand down as MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central, but the post of director of the V&A - the world's greatest museum of art, design and performance - is just that."
He added: "As I enter a new role as a public servant, I will be leaving partisan politics behind me and will work impartially as a museum director. I am sorry to put you, the party and the people of Stoke-on-Trent through a by-election. I have no desire to rock the boat now and anyone who interprets my decision to leave in that way is just plain wrong."
The by-election will be a three-way marginal, as the Tories were only beaten into third place by 33 votes.