On Friday 15th May Chuka Umunna withdrew his candidacy from the Labour Leader bid. Just days after throwing his hat into the ring alongside Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham; Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper, Shadow International Development Secretary Mary Creagh; and Shadow Health Minster Liz Kendall, the Shadow Business Secretary renounced his wish to run in the Labour Leader elections due to an alleged “added level of pressure” that came with him running to be the next Labour Leader following the demise of Ed Miliband.
Speculation amongst Umunna’s withdrawal from the race suggests he had “very real concerns and worry about this bid’s impact on those close to me”. The swift departure of Umunna from the bid possibly suggests that he was not the right man for the job, particularly as he claims to not have felt comfortable with the pressure and scrutiny he was under. The matter of fact remains that had he continued with his candidacy and potentially won, the scrutiny would have only intensified. Only time will tell if his timely exit from the bid will prove to be a saving grace for the Labour party.
On one hand the sense of familial guardianship Chuka Umunna displays is to be commended as a family man. However, as a politician it appears as if he is shying away from the increased media attention that comes along with the position he sought after just days ago. A question that remains, that will probably remain unanswered, is did Chuka Umunna not consider the increased popularity he would receive from his candidacy, when deciding to run?
It is arguable that his rather brief candidacy has filled Labour supporters with even more doubt. As Miliband exited stage left, it looked highly likely for Umunna to be the front-runner of the leader race, however with his timely departure it seems that the future of Labour is still hanging in the balance between the four remaining candidates.
Umunna’s brief stint as party leader candidate offered Labour supporters a young and fresh face and approach to leading the party, however hopes of a revamp to the party are not lost on the other four candidates. It is clear there has to be a distinction between Chuka Umunna “the politician” and Chuka Umunna “the man”, but considering the country is more concerned by him as the politician, there is an distinct sense of disappointment and loss at his withdrawal.