Labour conference: Gary Neville backs Sir Keir Starmer but dismisses suggestions he could stand to be next West Lancashire MP

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Sky Sports pundit and former England footballer Gary Neville insists he has no intention of standing to be an MP in Lancashire.

Neville appeared on stage with leader Sir Keir Starmer at the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool on Monday and despite suggestions he could stand in the West Lancashire seat being vacated by Rosie Cooper MP, the 47-year-old says seeking political office is not on his agenda.

As well as his extensive TV commitments, the one-time Manchester United right-back is a co-owner of League Two side Salford City and has extensive property and business interests in his native Manchester.

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Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer with Gary NevilleLabour leader Sir Keir Starmer with Gary Neville
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer with Gary Neville

“Not for me," he said when asked about the prospect of becoming West Lancashire MP. "I'm not going to be tempted."

He added: "I have got no intention of going into politics at all. The reality of it is, I love what I do so much, I love what I do in football, I love what I do in Greater Manchester with the businesses that I co-own."

He said that while he was "politically motivated", he "can do as much for the Labour Party being here today (at the conference) as I can do being an MP".

A West Lancashire by-election is expected in the autumn. Ms Cooper, whose ordeal being the subject of murder threats is being turned into a TV series, is taking up a new role as chairman of Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust.

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She has been the area’s MP since 2005 and Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has also been suggested as a possible candidate.

The former MP for Leigh has been in post for the last five years but is constantly linked with a return to the House of Commons and Westminster.

The by-election will be seen as an immediate referendum on Liz Truss’ Government with Labour taking its biggest poll lead over the Tories for more than 20 years on Monday.

That is in part down to Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget and Neville told the Labour conference the new Chancellor had not "read the room" by offering tax cuts to millionaires and lifting the cap on bankers' bonuses.