Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Umunna Blames Media Scrutiny as He Quits Labour Leadership Race

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Umunna Blames Media Scrutiny as He Quits Labour Leadership Race

Article excerpt

Byline: Joe Murphy Political Editor

CHUKA UMUNNA dropped out of the Labour leadership race today and blamed the pressure of media scrutiny.

The departure of the 7/4 favourite sent shockwaves through the Labour ranks, coming just three days after he declared his bid. His allies strongly denied the inevitable speculation that he was resigning ahead of stories in the Sunday papers about a fondness for clubbing.

Mr Umunna, 36, was tipped by many to become Britain's first black prime minister. The shadow business secretary announced his bid for the leadership in a video released onto social media on Tuesday.

In a long personal statement, he apologised to his supporters and admitted he felt it was "too soon" for him to become leader. He cited "very real concerns and worry about this bid's impact on those close to me".

His decision to pull out also comes a few days after he appeared in front of the cameras for the first time with his lawyer girlfriend Alice Sullivan.

Mr Umunna said: "As a member of the shadow cabinet, I am used to a level of attention which is part and parcel of the job. I witnessed the 2010 leadership election process close up and thought I would be comfortable with what it involved. However, since the night of our defeat last week, I have been subject to the added level of pressure that comes with being a leadership candidate. I have not found it to be a comfortable experience.

"One can imagine what running for leader can be like, understand its demands and the attention but nothing compares to actually doing it and the impact on the rest of one's life. Consequently, after further reflection, I am withdrawing my candidacy."

Andy Burnham replaced him as favourite to win the leadership contest. Mr Umunna's allies denied claims from rival camps that he was struggling to get the 35 nominations needed from Labour MPs to stand. …

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