Plymouth MP to step back as shadow environment sec after shootings

30 August 2021, 16:22

Labour MP Luke Pollard said he was stepping back to "focus on our community in Keyham"
Labour MP Luke Pollard said he was stepping back to "focus on our community in Keyham". Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

Senior Labour MP Luke Pollard is temporarily stepping back from his role as shadow environment secretary following the shootings in his Plymouth constituency earlier in August.

Announcing the move on Twitter, Plymouth Sutton and Devonport MP Mr Pollard said the shooting had "shaken" Plymouth and that he was stepping back so he could "focus on our community in Keyham".

"The events in #Keyham have shaken our community and have hit us all hard," Mr Pollard tweeted.

"That’s why I’ve asked @keir_starmer to allow me to step back from my shadow cabinet role for the next month so I can focus on our community in Keyham.

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"Keyham is hurting and so is #plymouth. When I was elected in 2017 I promised I would put Plymouth first as an MP and I meant it. Our community must get the support we need from Ministers and it’s my job to get that support."

He added: "We will get through this and will get through it together."

Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, said Mr Pollard was stepping back from his shadow cabinet role "so he can support his community after the shootings".

He will return for the party's autumn conference in late September and, in the interim period, shadow farming minister Daniel Zeichner will lead Labour's environment team.

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A Labour spokesman said: "Following the shootings in his Plymouth Sutton and Devonport constituency, Keir Starmer has agreed to a request by Luke Pollard MP to temporarily step back from his role as shadow secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs for the next month to focus on supporting the victims, their families and the wider Plymouth community."

Jake Davison, 22, killed his mother, Maxine Davison, 51, at her home in Plymouth before going outside and shooting dead four others in a 12-minute attack on the evening of August 12.

Davison's victims included three-year-old Sophie Martyn and her father Lee, 43, who were shot dead in an attack witnessed by horrified onlookers as they walked their pet dog in Biddick Drive.

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Davison then shot Stephen Washington, 59, in a nearby park, before shooting Kate Shepherd, 66, on Henderson Place.

He then turned the gun on himself before armed officers reached him.