A NORTH-EAST MP, who received death threats while campaigning to remain part of the European Union, last night announced she would be stepping down at the next General Election - just hours after being promoted by Jeremy Corbyn.

Pat Glass said she found last week’s referendum ‘divisive and bruising’ and, anticipating a snap poll this year, announced she will no longer represent North-West Durham.

The Northern Echo: Pat Glass's resignation letter

The 59-year-old was promoted from shadow Europe minister to shadow education minister on Monday as beleaguered Labour Party leader Mr Corbyn tried to prop up his position with a post-Brexit reshuffle.

But yesterday, ahead of the 172 to 40 vote of no confidence, which could trigger a fresh leadership contest, Mrs Glass announced her intention to stand down. 

And with the next Prime Minister expected to call a General Election she may only have a few more months before her time as shadow education minister comes to an end.

Speaking to the Northern Echo last night she said: “It was never my intention to stand for more than two terms. The view here is there could be a General Election as soon as October 9. I owe it the Constituency Labour Party and the people of North-West Durham to give them the opportunity to come up with a Labour candidate.”

Mrs Glass, who became Shadow Minister for Europe in January, did not attend the referendum count after police received four threats in relation to her.

She said that she would usually dismiss the individuals making the threats as nothing more than keyboard warriors but, in the aftermath of the death of Jo Cox, who was stabbed and shot after holding a constituency surgery, now feels threats have to be taken seriously.

Mrs Glass said: “I am not standing down because of the threats, although those things did happen, and the last six months have been very bruising. 
“When people start attacking your family it is a worry but that is not the reason why.

“I don’t know what the threats were. They went to the police not to me. They happened over a period of time and the police were taking them as credible threats. Their advice was, quite rightly, try not to be in places where people expect you to be.

“It was me who took the decision not to go to the count, not the police advising me to.

“People around me were taking these things more seriously than I was, but in the light of Jo Cox’s death you do need to take precautions. 

“It is not the reason I am standing down though. It was because we could get an election quickly. I want there to be someone there to take over. It would be unfair otherwise. It is the responsible thing to do.” 

A spokesman for Durham Constabulary said several pieces of information regarding malicious communication had been brought to the attention of their officers.

She said: “We have been working with Mrs Glass to progress enquiries while offering advice and support during the investigation. 

“A specific threat was dealt with by officers in Consett last week, working with Mrs Glass' office appropriate action was taken and the threat negated. 
“No specific instruction not attend a count in Mrs Glass' constituency was ever discussed.”

Before she became an MP, Mrs Glass was a Government education adviser, specialising in children with special needs and was the assistant director of Education in Sunderland and Greenwich.

Mrs Glass, who lives in Lanchester, near Consett, where she became a parish councillor in 2007, was elected to Parliament in 2010 and replaced Hilary Armstrong who had retired.

Mrs Glass explained why she announced she was stepping down a day after being made Shadow Education Secretary.

She said: “I have certainly got the experience to carry it through. I wanted to provide strong opposition to the Government and put together a coherent policy that would take Labour to the next election.

“I took a job on Sunday, which was a dream job for me, and the world starts falling apart on Monday. 

“Things are changing by the hour here. I took the job and at the time we could have gone on until 2020 before an election, but it is increasingly looking unlikely that that is what is going to happen.”

In May, Mrs Glass apologised after calling a voter ‘a horrible racist’, which was caught at the end of a radio interview recording and reported by the media. 

At a Labour rally she reportedly suggested voters try to persuade their mothers and grandmothers to vote ‘remain’ but joked they did not bother with their grandfathers because ‘the problem is older white men’.

In her resignation letter to the Constituency Labour Party, she said: “Following our discussion today I am formally giving you notice that I do not intend to be Labour’s candidate in the next General Election. 

“Given that the election could come as soon as October 2016 I want to give the CLP as much time as possible to get a new candidate in place to fight the election.

“Representing the constituency of North-West Durham, the people I grew up with and have lived amongst has been both a privilege and an honour and it has been a pleasure to work with both you and the officials of both the CLP and the Executive.

“Whilst I had always intended to do no more than two terms in Parliament I have found the last six months very, very difficult.

“The referendum has been incredibly divisive. It divided families and communities and I have found it bruising in many respects.

“It has had an impact on both me and my family as I am sure it has had on many others. 

“Following the next General Election I will continue to be an active member of the party, just no longer as your MP and candidate.” 

Durham County Councillor Fraser Tinsley, chairman of the North-West Durham Constituency Labour Party, said the group would arrange the timetable of selecting the next candidate for the area when the date of the next General Election was announced.

He said: “The referendum has been very divisive in this area. It has pitted families against families and communities against communities. A lot of underlying issues have been brought to the fore.

“There is an atmosphere for anyone who represents the public at the moment.

“Maintaining personal safety is a cause for concern. 

“Pat has made a huge contribution in this constituency, particularly over recent years, since her election. We are sad to see her go. She has been a very good Member of Parliament.”