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George Osborne has announced his is quitting as Tatton MP.

The former Chancellor is set to stand down from his Cheshire seat after being appointed editor of London’s Evening Standard.

Questions over Mr Osborne’s future were asked after Prime Minister Theresa May announced a snap general election on Tuesday. Many had expected him to seek a safe London seat to tie in with his new job.

In a letter to Conservatives in Tatton, he said he was stepping down from the House of Commons - ‘for now’.

His chances of a cabinet position under Mrs May looked limited. Mr Osborne has refused to write his memoirs, saying he wants to see ‘how the story ends’.

The 45-year-old said he intends to stay active in political debates, including on his pet Northern Powerhouse project during his time as Chancellor.

Mr Osborne wrote: “I am stepping down from the House of Commons - for now. But I will remain active in the debate about our country’s future and on the issues I care about, like the success of the Northern Powerhouse.

“I want a Britain that is free, open, diverse and works with other nations to defend our democratic values in the world.

“I will go on fighting for that Britain I love from the editor’s chair of a great newspaper. It’s still too early to be writing my memoirs.”

Explaining his decision to step down, he said: “At the age of 45, I don’t want to spend the rest of my life just being an ex-Chancellor. I want new challenges.

“I’m very excited about the opportunity to edit the Evening Standard. I’ve met the team there, and their energy and commitment to this great newspaper are positively infectious.”

Mr Osborne has been an MP for 16 years and the youngest Tory MP of his generation in 2001. He headed the Conservative Research Department as a backbencher before working for ex-Prime Minister John Major at No 10 and for William Hague.

Mr Osborne rose to become shadow chancellor while the Tories were in opposition - before becoming David Cameron’s Chancellor when the party took power.

General election latest - evening recap

  • There’ll be a general election on June 8. MPs voted in favour of it by 522 to 13.
  • George Osborne will not be seeking re-election as he focuses on his editorship of the Evening Standard
  • Theresa May has been heavily criticised for refusing to take part in TV debates in the run up to the election.
  • The Cabinet Office has confirmed the Gorton by-election will be rescheduled so that it coincides with general election day, rather than the planned date of May 4.

Gorton by-election set to take place on June 8

The M.E.N. has learned the process has begun to shift the date of the Gorton by-election to June 8 to coincide with the General Election.
A Cabinet Office spokeswoman said:

“The House of Commons has been invited to approve a motion superseding the previous writ which set the date of the by-election.

“This will enable the returning officer to cancel the originally planned by-election and instead allow for an election on the date of the General Election.”

Jeremy Corbyn launches Labour's election campaign in Croydon

(Image: PA)

The Labour leader said he was “delighted to start the campaign in London.”

He’s just delivered a short stump speech. Here’s a snippet of what he said.

“I want a Labour government that ensures that carers are properly supported when they are caring for loved ones.

“I want a Labour government that ensures people don’t wait for hours in A&E departments. “I want a Labour government that isn’t closing hospitals, that isn’t so underfunding schools that when the parents take the children back in at the start of the summer term, they say goodbye to the children and in return they get a letter saying ‘please help us fund the school because the government isn’t providing us with the money for the books the children need’.

“That is the difference between the Labour and the Tories.”

These are the 13 MPs who voted against holding a general election

Clockwise from top left: Michelle Thomson, Ronnie Campbell, Fiona Mactaggart, Paul Farrelly, Graham Stringer, Alasdair McDonnell, Ann Clwyd, Liz McInnes, Jim Fitzpatrick, Dennis Skinner, Clive Lewis, Natalie McGarry, and Lady Hermon
Clockwise from top left: Michelle Thomson, Ronnie Campbell, Fiona Mactaggart, Paul Farrelly, Graham Stringer, Alasdair McDonnell, Ann Clwyd, Liz McInnes, Jim Fitzpatrick, Dennis Skinner, Clive Lewis, Natalie McGarry, and Lady Hermon

A total of 13 MPs voted against today’s motion in the House of Commons - and nine of them were from Labour.

Another 100 or so abstained.

Theresa May was forced to hold the vote under the terms of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, and had to win the approval of two-thirds of MPs.

Here’s the full list of MPs who voted against a general election

LABOUR

Ronnie Campbell

Ann Clwyd

Paul Farrelly

Jim Fitzpatrick

Clive Lewis

Fiona Mactaggart

Liz McInnes

Dennis Skinner

Graham Stringer

INDEPENDENT

Natalie McGarry

Michelle Thomson

Lady Hermon

SDLP

Alasdair McDonnell

Liberal Democrat MP quits over 'nightmare chaos of Brexit'

Southport Lib Dem MP John Pugh
Southport Lib Dem MP John Pugh

John Pugh, the MP for Southport, has announced he won’t seek re-election on June 8.

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.

“However, I did not bank on the Prime Minister’s opportunism. The prospect of new long parliament working through the nightmare chaos of Brexit has no appeal whatsoever to me.

“I aim to continue in local and community politics. It’s been a privilege to represent Southport in parliament but I feel this is the right time to step down and begin a new chapter in my life.”

John Bercow will seek third term as speaker

(Image: PA)

John Bercow’s office has confirmed he’ll seek re-election for a third term as the Speaker of the House of Commons.

The convention has traditionally been for major political parties not to field a candidate against the Speaker.

Who knows if this will be the case this time.

Suspended MP Simon Danczuk 'expects to fight election for Labour'

Simon Danczuk
Simon Danczuk

Suspended Labour MP Simon Danczuk wants to be the party’s Rochdale candidate in the upcoming general election.

The 50-year-old was suspended in 2015 over allegations he sent sexually explicit messages to a 17-year-old girl.

He’s currently serving as an independent MP, but has appealed to Labour to reinstate him.

Mr Danczuk said: “I believe my strong track record of fighting for Rochdale proves that I am the best placed person to fight this election for the Labour Party. “I’ve fought and won two General Elections for Labour, and I expect to fight the next as a Labour candidate.”

The party told the BBC: “The process for selecting candidates in all our seats, including Rochdale, will begin shortly.”

44,000 people sign a petition to make Theresa May take part in TV debates

Theresa May
Theresa May (Image: PA)

Tens of thousands of people have signed a petition to make Theresa May take part in TV debates ahead of the general election on June 8.

Downing Street yesterday confirmed the PM would not appear in any televised debates in the run up to the election.

But lots of people aren’t happy with her decision.

A petition, titled ‘We deserve a debate - What’s May scared of?’ was launched, and has already garnered more than 44,000 signatures.

Michael Walker, who set it up, wrote:

“We believe the UK public deserves better and that party leader’s plans should be put under serious scrutiny.

“We demand a televised debate between Theresa May and the leaders of the UK’s main opposition parties.

“If Theresa May refuses, the BBC, Channel 4 or ITV should host a debate with an empty chair for the Prime Minister.”

To sign the petition, click here.

'Theresa May promised no election seven times. She cannot be trusted'

This is why Graham Stringer refused to back the election.

The Prime Minister has called a general election in the Conservative Party’s interest, not the country’s.

I am not prepared to support that.

She gave her commitment seven times that she would not call a snap election.

She cannot be trusted.

Two Greater Manchester Labour MPs vote against general election

(Image: Sean Hansford)

Blackley and Broughton MP and Heywood and Middleton MP Liz McInnes were among the 13 MPs to vote against calling a general election on June 8.

The others were Labour MPs Ronnie Campbell, Snn Clwyd, Paul Farrelly, Jim Fitzpatrick, Clive Lewis, Dennis Skinner and Fiona MacTaggart, independent Scottish MPs Michelle Thomson and Natalie McGarry, Alasdair McDonnell, Social Democratic MP for Belfast South, and Lady Hermon, independent MP for North Down.

Government 'still looking at options' re Gorton

I have spoken to the Cabinet Office, who say they are ‘still looking at options’ regarding the Gorton by-election.

Apparently there will be some kind of update soon.

So watch this space.

Confirmed: General election to take place on June 8

MPs have voted for the general election, as put forward by Theresa May under the Fixed Term Parliament Act.

MPs in favour: 522

Against: 13

Will find out who voted against shortly.

Voting now taking place on the general election

There they go.

That Osborne resignation in full

Here’s what Osborne has written to his local party.

Theresa May stands by Greater Manchester MPs under investigation

David Nuttall, William Wragg and Mary Robinson
David Nuttall, William Wragg and Mary Robinson

Labour beast Denis Skinner grilled the Prime Minister earlier about those Tory MPs who could face charges over their election spending in 2015 - including three in Greater Manchester.

Allegations against Hazel Grove’s William Wragg, Bury North’s David Nuttall and Cheadle’s Mary Robinson are all being reviewed by prosecutors.

Last night it emerged that the Crown Prosecution Service was on the verge of reaching a decision on the case, which has been ongoing several months and has been looking at whether a total of 30 Conservatives breached strict spending limits in the last general election campaign.

Mr Skinner demanded to know whether the PM would ditch all those being investigated, arguing that otherwise the 2017 election would be ‘squalid’.

Theresa May stood firm, however.

I stand by all the Conservative MPs in this House who will be out there campaigning for a Conservative government that will give a brighter, better future for this country.

Mr Wragg and Mr Nuttall both deny the allegations. Ms Robinson has not so far commented.

Tatton Tories: Right that George 'fell on his sword'

(Image: Manchester Evening News)

Osborne’s decision to quit has been welcomed by his constituency party, who have described it as ‘the right decision’.

Cheshire East councillor Tony Dean told the Press Association he was ‘surprised’ by the sudden announcement, within 24 hours of the PM announcing a snap election.

I was with him at the Tatton Conservatives AGM recently when he spoke very well, very passionately, about wanting to continue his political career.

He said he didn’t think his political career was over, and he said how ambitious he was.

He must have had a change of heart - there’s been a little bit of that in the last day or two, though, hasn’t there?

I think the general feeling will be that he’s fallen on his sword a bit - but he’s done the right thing in not seeking re-election.

He was a good local MP and of course he was powerful. People always want their MP to have a bit of authority, and as chancellor he certainly had that.

Fellow Knutsford town councillor Christine Gray said she was shocked, adding:

That said, nothing surprises me in politics any more.

This is a relatively secure seat for the Conservatives, so I imagine there will be people queuing up to represent us here.

Asked if there were any concerns within the constituency about Mr Osborne splitting his time between serving the people of Tatton and of the capital, Ms Gray said:

We have had as our MP the second most powerful guy in the country - the chancellor - so we’re used to him having the high-profile job.

He has a fine back-up team here too, so he’s always been very approachable for the people of this constituency. I think he is a very capable man - it’s nice to find a man who can do one job properly these days.

Speaking on the World at One, Tory minister Damien Green has tried to spin Osborne’s departure as ‘inevitable’ as a result of his editorship of the Evening Standard, which had not been the line until about an hour and a half ago.

Then again, maybe he won’t be gone just yet.

Farron: I don't think being gay is a sin

Over the last 24 hours claims that Lib Dem leader Tim Farron thinks being gay is a sin have been flying around all over the place, because Channel 4 News had asked him to clarify his position on the issue without getting a straight answer.

He has just been asked in the House of Commons whether or not he thinks being gay is a sin.

I do not.

He holds up his strong track record on voting for gay rights as evidence too, as well as noting that he will be happy to take part in the TV debates to discuss such issues, unlike Theresa May.

Mark Hunter: Standing again in Cheadle

Mark Hunter is the second former Lib Dem MP in Greater Manchester to confirm he will run to win back his seat.

He will stand for the party in Cheadle, where the Tories finally - after years of trying - took it from him in 2015.

Mr Hunter, now a councillor at Stockport town hall, had played down his Westminster ambitions in recent months, but presumably this was too good an opportunity to miss.

His announcement follows that of Manchester councillor John Leech, who similarly will hope to win back Manchester Withington in June.

Cheadle is held by Tory MP Mary Robinson at present, with a majority of just under 6,500.

Depending on where the Lib Dems decide to target their resources this time round, this could well be a key target for them.

Cheadle was pro-Remain in the EU referendum and has long been a bitterly contested seat for the Lib Dems and Tories.

SNP: won't back a general election

The Scottish National Party - and possibly a handful of Labour MPs - are going to be the only ones opposing Theresa May’s proposal for a general election today.

Currently the debate is still ongoing in the Commons.

May requires two thirds of MPs to back her plan, which we can say with some certainty she will achieve.

Still no news on Gorton

I’m starting to sound like a broken record on the Gorton by-election, but it’s worth noting that there’s still no confirmation of whether it will go ahead on May 4, or who takes the decision on that.

Despite yesterday the Leader of the House of Commons telling journalists that it was up to Joanne Roney, returning officer at Manchester council, it turns out Manchester council doesn’t agree.

This is the statement she issued earlier:

Since the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday regarding a General Election on 8 June, we have been in active discussions with government and the Electoral Commission about the implications for the Manchester Gorton parliamentary by-election given parliament would be dissolved by the date of poll. Legal advice has confirmed that as (Acting) Returning Officer I have no power in law to cancel the by-election in these circumstances. This matter has therefore been raised with parliamentary authorities to clarify the position as a matter of urgency should Parliament vote for an 8 June General Election later today.

I understand it may be the Speaker’s decision in the Commons, so at the moment we are waiting for the general election to be officially confirmed.

Ultimately nobody is really now expecting the by-election to happen, but if it doesn’t it’s a testament to our arcane political system just how long it will have taken for anyone to actually find out the rules.

TV debate will go on without Theresa May

ITV has confirmed it will empty-chair the PM - if necessary - at its general election TV debate.

You may remember that the beginning of the last general election was almost entirely dominated by a row over whether David Cameron would or wouldn’t go on TV.

The negotiations with broadcasters went on seemingly forever before he finally agreed to do one full debate and one face to face interview.

It would appear that Theresa May has no interest in doing this.

She told Radio 4’s Today programme this morning that she would not be taking part, arguing that it was more important to get out into the country and meet people face to face.

More on Osborne

While they chat about a general election that’s clearly now going to happen, here’s more on Osborne’s resignation as MP.

He revealed his departure in the London Evening Standard which - if you don’t know - he now edits.

As this parody account tweeted last night:

He told the Evening Standard (natch) in an exclusive interview but that he would ‘carry on fighting for the Britain I love’ after stepping down from his Tatton seat ‘for now’.

Osborne says he will continue advocating for the north.

I am stepping down from the House of Commons - for now. But I will remain active in the debate about our country’s future and on the issues I care about, like the success of the Northern Powerhouse.

I want a Britain that is free, open, diverse and works with other nations to defend our democratic values in the world.

I will go on fighting for that Britain I love from the editor’s chair of a great newspaper. It’s still too early to be writing my memoirs

This is also what he said (about the memoirs, not about quitting Tatton) when I interviewed him last year.

You can read the Evening Standard piece here.

Corbyn: Let's have a head to head TV debate

Jeremy Corbyn is responding and demanding to know why May has refused to go on a live TV debate.

He also says May is suggesting she is a ‘prisoner of the Lib Dems’ regarding Brexit.

There are nine of them and they managed to vote three different ways on Article 50 so it’s obviously a very serious threat indeed.

'Determination'

Theresa May is essentially repeating what she said on the steps of Downing Street yesterday.

We need ‘a government with the determination to see it through.. and take the right long term decisions for Britain’, she says.

(A Conservative government, in case you were wondering.)

Parliamentary debate now taking place on the general election

With apologies to George Osborne, his resignation is one of several big political news stories this afternoon - and currently MPs are debating the general election in parliament.

So before I turn to the architect of the Northern Powerhouse, I’ll bring you updates from that discussion in the Commons.

Theresa May is currently telling MPs why she thinks a general election is the right thing.

Parties all have different views on the way forward post-Brexit, she says, so this needs to be settled via a poll.