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Camberwell and Peckham MP Harriet Harman is stepping down after nearly 40 years

After nearly 40 years in the role, the MP for Camberwell and Peckham will not be standing in the next election, sparking rumours about her possible successor.

The longest-serving female MP Harriet Harman today announced her intention to stand down in the next election, having first been elected in 1982.

One possible candidate to succeed her is Community Champion for the West Central Area Dora Dixon-Fyle, who said that while Harriet is “irreplaceable,” she would “relish” the opportunity to take on the role.

Aged 71, Harman is often dubbed “Mother of the House”, and has held a large number cabinet positions in both opposition and government.

She had two brief stints as leader of the Labour Party, after after Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband stepped down.

She is known for championing feminist causes in Parliament, including a long-standing campaign against topless Page 3 models – which eventually led to The Sun ditching semi-naked models in 2015.

In her letter to the party where she stated her intention to stand down, which she shared on her Twitter, she said: “I entered the Commons as one of only 11 Labour women MPs in a parliament that was 97 per cent men. Now there are 104 Labour women and across all parties women MPs are a ‘critical mass’.

“But there remains much more to be done till women genuinely share political power with men on equal terms and until women in this country are equal.

“I will leave the House of Commons with my feminism, my belief in Labour and my enthusiasm for politics undimmed.”

Dora Dixon-Fyle was full of praise for Harriet as she announced her own interest in the role.

“She’s very intelligent and politically savvy,” Dora said. “Whatever led her to make the decision to stand down, I bet she’s thought, ‘I’ve got to put the people of Camberwell and Peckham first.’

“She’s done so much for so many communities, and is a great role model.”

While she was full of admiration for Harriet’s career, Cllr Dixon-Fyle also stated her own interest in taking up the mantle.

“It’s a fantastic constituency,” she said. “But there’s so much to be done and I’d like to think I’ve got the energy.

“I very much hope I’ll be on the list. I will work hard to be there because I believe that I can make a difference.”

Possible successor Dora Dixon-Fyle

Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing Evelyn Akoto is also thought to be a possible replacement for Harriet.

Claire Sheppard, who ran against Harriet as the Green Party’s candidate for Camberwell and Peckham last year, said of her departure: “It was a surprising bit of news. I felt like she had one last term in her, and honestly I was looking forward to running against her again.

“I quite enjoyed doing so last time.”

Harriet’s Green Party rival: Claire Sheppard

In terms of whether the MP’s choice would impact Ms Sheppard’s chances in the next election, she said: “It will depend whether I’m chosen as the Green Party candidate, and also who Southwark Labour choose.

“As a younger woman, women like Harriet Harman being in Parliament got me interested in politics. I’d like to say thank you to her for her service.”

“I hope that the people of Southwark, next time around, are more open to electing a working class person, maybe who has grown up in council housing – someone who’s a bit more scrappy, and I think I might be that person.”

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  1. Dora Dixon – Fyle would be a great MP and the perfect person to take over from Harriet Harman . She has been my local Councillor for 20 odd years and she goes out of her way to help her constituents . She is genuine , honest and has a great deal of integrity . Furthermore she is local and loves the communities within the borough . Dora will definitely get my vote

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