Earlier today I wrote to members of my Constituency Labour Party following my decision at the weekend. My letter is copied below:
On Saturday, Jeremy Corbyn was elected as leader of the Labour Party with Tom Watson as his deputy. Both have clear mandates and a positive vision for transforming Britain and making ours a fairer and more equal society. I will give Jeremy, Tom and the party my full support in the months and years ahead.
For me personally, I believe I can best do this from the backbenches when I return from maternity leave in January - campaigning on issues that I care passionately about. Jeremy needs a shadow cabinet in place now and to be able to appoint a team who can take forward his vision. Being in the shadow cabinet is a huge commitment - 24/7 and you have to put your heart and soul in to it and be willing to stand up at the despatch box or go on the media at any point to represent the party. I loved my job as shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury and as shadow Work and Pensions Secretary and did these jobs to the best of my abilities. But now I want to focus on my family, constituency work, community campaigning and holding the Tories to account on economic and social policy from the backbenches.
I hope you will understand and accept my decision - it was a very hard one for me to make but I believe that it is the right one for me, my family and my constituents right now.
Like you, I love our party and I will support our new leader and always do everything I can to help us win locally and nationally. I look forward to campaigning with you especially as we approach important council elections next May.
MP for Leeds West