He was considered the Labour leader the Conservatives “feared the most”, but days after announcing his candidature for the top party post, Chuka Umunna on Friday said he was withdrawing from the race due to the intense scrutiny the process involved.
Umunna, 36, was re-elected from the Streatham constituency in London, and was the bookies’ favourite to replace Ed Miliband, who resigned last week as the leader following the party’s defeat in the May 7 poll. The media had dubbed Umunna ‘British Obama’.
Umunna said he thought he understood the level of scrutiny and attention the leadership contest would bring, but that he found it uncomfortable. Reports said his close family had been followed by reporters, while many parked themselves outside his house.
“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,” he said.
The result of the ballot for Labour’s next leader and deputy leader will be announced on 12 September.