John Pugh to stand down as an MP

John Pugh has announced that he won’t be fighting the General Election in his Southport constituency.

From the BBC:

John Pugh, MP for Southport, said he planned to retire next month, but “did not bank on the prime minister’s opportunism” in calling an election.
He said he did not want to work through “the nightmare chaos of Brexit” in the next parliament.
The local constituency party will now choose a new candidate from an all-woman shortlist.

Mr Pugh said in a statement: “I was going to announce my retirement from Westminster politics in my own time this May after what will be successful local elections.”
He said he planned to continue in local politics, but felt it was “the right time to step down and begin a new chapter in my life”.

Our thanks to John for his work over the past 16 years.

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  • Sue, the candidate to be his replacement, is reportedly awesome.

  • As Chair of Southport local party I should point out that we are undergoing a selection process in accordance with Party rules. In accordance with the decision of Federal Conference that will be conducted using an All Woman Shortlist (AWS).

    Whoever the members select as candidate, we are ready for the fight and look forward to Southport constituency electing its first ever female MP.

  • Why an all women shortlist? Surely if someone’s good enough they should be able to win without positive discrimination?

  • David Evans 20th Apr '17 - 9:59am

    It is a great sadness that John is standing down. A wonderful MP and a great Liberal, John has been an inspiration to many for a long time. He became Southport’s MP in 2001, taking over from his predecessor Ronnie Fearn who first won the seat in 1987, making Southport one of our Liberal heartlands, having had a Lib Dem for 35 of the last 40 years.

    Always been a modest man, he has deep liberal convictions, and he was always helpful to others. We remember him bringing a team to St Helens to help with local government by-elections on several occasions when we were fighting Labour to take control of the council. We eventually did take control and we will always in his debt for that.

    Shirley and I will certainly come over to assist John and his team in his final campaign, to help him hand on the torch and ensure that Southport remains Lib Dem for decades to come.

  • John Barrett 20th Apr '17 - 10:09am

    As someone who spent two terms in Westminster with John from 2001 I believe that he was one of our finest MPs in recent years, thoughtful, consistent and with a wry sense of humour.

    I would like to wish John and Annette all the best for their future and can confirm that in many ways life after leaving Westminster can be even more fulfilling than life as an MP.

  • John Barrett 20th Apr '17 - 10:13am

    Be ready for other parties targeting the seat, as they always pour extra resources into any seat when an existing popular MP retires, as they know that this will be their best chance in years to make an impact in a Lib-Dem stronghold.

  • John Barrett is right Southport will become a top target for the Tories. John Pugh will be a big loss, but the Southport Lib Dems seem to know how to win so my guess is they will be OK. That said there was a fairly large UKIP vote last time and it will make life interesting if most of that goes to the Tories.

  • Helen Tedcastle 20th Apr '17 - 12:13pm

    An excellent MP. A fine Liberal with sound and consistent principles, and a great servant to the cause of liberal democracy in this country.

    I wish him all the best for the future.

  • Jayne Mansfield 20th Apr '17 - 12:40pm

    @ Helen Tedcastle,
    I have always valued your contributions to a discussion because they have challenged my own and made me think afresh.

    However, I have just checked out John Pugh’s voting record on ‘ They work for you’, and your assessment has left me puzzled.

  • Simon Banks 20th Apr '17 - 4:40pm


    This arises from a decision taken by the Conference in spring 2016 and much debated before and during the conference. It was agreed that a limited number of seats would be all-woman-shortlist as one of a number of measures aimed at correcting the extreme imbalance in our MPs.

    I see such a measure as a last resort after other measures have failed. I voted for it. Such measures should be temporary, but there is evidence that such measures can achieve a change that remains after they’ve been withdrawn.

  • Great MP who always remembers politics is a local experience. Westminster is just a stage for show offs, the play is written closer to home. All women shortlist seems a perfect step towards making politics more representative. Some call it positive discrimination I prefer to accept that there’s centuries of patriarchy to change.

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