David Lammy has ruled himself out of the race to succeed Jeremy Corbyn, calling for the next leader “to unite our party’s factions”.
The former minister, who has represented Tottenham since 2000, had been considering a challenge – but said on Saturday he would not be pursuing leadership of the Labour party.
His decision came after prominent backbenchers Jess Phillips and Lisa Nandy announced their bids to lead the party following its worst general election defeat since 1935.
The senior MP tweeted: “I’m humbled by all who have encouraged me to stand for Labour leader. After serious consideration, I’m ruling myself out.
“I’m committed to playing my full part in opposition, but we need the candidate best placed to unite our party’s factions so we can win the country’s trust.”
An ardent Remainer, Lammy suggested to the Independent that his stance on Brexit, which he maintained was a “historic mistake”, rendered him unsuitable to unite the party’s “vociferous factions”.
Wigan MP Nandy, a former shadow cabinet minister, said on Friday that the successor must be someone with “skin in the game” and called for the rejection of “the paternalism of the past”.
Earlier that evening, outspoken Birmingham Yardley MP Phillips confirmed her bid with a call to elect “a different kind of leader”.
Both are seen as coming from the party’s centre-left and will face confirmed contenders shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry and shadow treasury minister Clive Lewis.
Others, including shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer and the current leadership’s favourite Rebecca Long-Bailey, are also expected to enter the race.
Phillips came third in a YouGov survey of the membership behind both shadow business secretary Long-Bailey and Starmer, who was clear favourite. Nandy was the last of seven candidates.
But the outsiders will be hoping to boost their profiles, with the race not expected to formally get under way until Tuesday before a new leader is installed by the end of March.