Labour MP Tristram Hunt is quitting as an MP to become the director of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, triggering a by-election.

Mr Hunt, a critic of Jeremy Corbyn, said he did not want to “rock the boat” but had the chance “to have one of the greatest museum jobs in the world”.

His Stoke-on-Trent Central seat is set to be abolished under boundary changes.

Mr Hunt told local party members he had been frustrated about how Labour should respond to political shockwaves.

In a letter to them explaining his decision, he said being an MP had been “both deeply rewarding and intensely frustrating”.

‘Plain wrong’

Highlighting the “harrowing effects of poverty and inequality upon social mobility”, he said:

“The frustration, of course, came with the inability to address those factors and implement our policy programme following our defeat in 2015 – and, more broadly, about how the Labour Party should respond to the social, cultural and economic forces which have rocked mainstream social democratic and socialist parties from India to Greece to America.”

He added: “I am sorry to put you, the party and the people of Stoke-on-Trent, through a by-election. I have no desire to rock the boat now and anyone who interprets my decision to leave in that way is just plain wrong.”

The former TV historian was elected to represent Stoke-on-Trent in 2010 and was re-elected in 2015 with a majority of 5,179. UKIP came second.

He refused to serve in the shadow cabinet following Mr Corbyn’s leadership victory in September 2015. He also argued that the Labour leader should have done more to persuade its voters to back the Remain campaign during last year’s EU referendum.