The country’s poverty tzar has ruled out a return to politics following speculation he could be tempted as the region readies itself for devolved powers.
Former Labour MP for Darlington Alan Milburn said he would not run for a mayor role should George Osborne attempt to impose a Boris Johnson-style system on the region under plans for devolution.
The chairman of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission said he saw no future for himself as a politician and wants to continue his work.
Mr Milburn served as Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Health Secretary before leaving frontline politics in 2003, citing the need to spend more time with family.
It was a move he said publicly he did not regret but even after he stepped down as MP in 2010, after 18 years, supporters have frequently called for him to return.
However, he told The Journal: “I won’t be returning to politics. I loved being Darlington’s MP but I did it for 18 years which is long enough.
“It’s very flattering when people mention my name in that way but it’s not for me. I want to keep banging the drum on social mobility and child poverty because those are the issues that matter most to me.”
It comes as parties of all colours advance the devolution debate. Chancellor George Osborne favours metro mayors and has already signed a devolution deal with Greater Manchester on the basis they agreed to have their own Boris Johnson.
A similar agreement for this region is likely to be resisted by local politicians as many feel the public has no appetite for another layer of elected politicians.