You read it here first…

From today’s Independent:

Short to stand down after 23 years
Henry Deedes

While Tony Blair continues to huff and puff over his departure date from office, one of his biggest critics inside the Labour Party is planning her own farewell.

Former cabinet minister Clare Short is to stand down as MP for Birmingham, Ladywood, at the next general election after holding the seat for more than 23 years.

Short was only recently touted as a possible “wild-card” candidate for a party leadership contest, but she has has now privately admitted her colleagues the next general election will be her last.

“Clare feels her future lies elsewhere, but certainly intends to remain politically active,” a party colleague tells me. “She’s already talking about playing a prominent role in the campaign for electoral reform.”

Short’s parliamentary career has been among the most colourful in recent years. She memorably came to prominence as a young MP when she accused Tory rival Alan Clark of being drunk in the Chamber, as well as going on to campaign against Page 3 models in The Sun.

After being appointed Secretary of State for International Development following the 1997 election, she quit the cabinet in 2003 over the Iraq war, claiming the PM’s dealings with the security council had “contradicted” assurances she had given the Commons.

While Short’s office declined to comment on the news yesterday, I’m told: “Clare’s had a great career as a politician and has decided it’s time to think about the next phase of her life.”

We notice that the Indy didn’t bother to credit us for the story. Perhaps they were too busy looking for their next front page exclusive on the national shortage of conkers.

More worthy of a return visit is West Midlands news site The Stirrer:

Breaking news: Clare Short to quit rumour

It’s been reported this afternoon that controversial Birmingham Ladywood MP Clare Short is to quit at the next election.

The report is carried in the respected left wing website The Daily.

It’s claimed that Short wants to step down so she can advocate a hung parliament with the Lib Dems holding the balance of power – allowing proportional representation to replace the first past the post system.

If she advocates voting against Labour candidates she could be expelled from the party.

Short claims that the government in which she served as a minister for six years will be viewed as an “historic wasted opportunity”.

Follow up story here. There is also a message board debate here, should West Midlands comrades wish to express their views.

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5 Responses to You read it here first…

  1. Andrea says:

    The local paper has the story too now:
    http://icbirmingham.icnetwork.co.uk/birminghampost/news/tm_objectid=17735510%26method=full%26siteid=50002-name_page.html

    (but they don’t quote you, but another website!)

  2. Max says:

    How badly written is the Indy? In addition to the ludicrous claim that she might be a “wildcard” leadership candidate, surely they mean that last year’s election will have been her last, not the next one!

  3. Thanks Andrea – they quote Political Hack UK, a Birmingham-based Labour blogger who covered our story. There’s a link in our sidebar. Have put up a post about it.

    Max – you can only shake your head sadly at this stuff. To think that these people look down on bloggers!

  4. Rob F says:

    Re the indy: twas ever thus with diary columns. They’ve been written in a “psst, you’ll never guess what I heard” way for so long now that attribution is alien to them.

  5. They normally pay out for their stories though, which makes me wonder if someone’s pocketed forty quid for simply ripping a story off our website. Perhaps we should send them an invoice!

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