Labour MP Tom Harris 'retires from blogging'

image captionTom Harris was unsuccessful in the recent shadow cabinet election

A Labour MP has announced he is giving up blogging because it involves "getting me into too many squabbles".

Tom Harris, who has one of the most prominent online presences of UK politicians, added that it was having a "negative effect" on his personal life.

The Glasgow South MP, an ex-transport minister, promised to hand the "burden" to "those less jaded and less cynical".

Mr Harris's And Another Thing... was ranked in the top 10 of UK political blogs in a poll last year.

It came eighth in the Total Politics vote, making him the highest-ranked MP on its list.

'Provoking a row'

But, in an entry entitled "A blessed relief" - a phrase used by former Prime Minister Tony Blair when he revealed he was stepping down - Mr Harris has announced he is ending his online career.

The 46-year-old writes: "I love blogging because I love writing. I love politics, I love the Labour Party, I love writing abut Labour Party politics.

"But the blog has become a burden. It's taking up too much time (though not as much as some might think - I am a very fast writer), it's getting me into too many squabbles with people I have never met and are likely never to meet. And increasingly I've felt like I'm adopting stances simply for the sake of being confrontational and provoking a row.

"Basically, the bottom line: blogging is having a negative effect on my personal, family and political life for reasons too many and complicated to recount."

Mr Harris, who has been an MP since 2001, recently failed to win a place on Labour's shadow cabinet.

In his final blog entry, he says: "I've allowed this blog to define me politically. It's done the job pretty accurately - I'm acknowledged as a dyed-in-the-wool Blairite, a point that would perhaps have been open to debate had I never taken to the web. But I've become a blogger who is also an MP rather than a politician who blogs, and that was never the aim.

"I like to think I've managed to produce, over the last two and a half years, an entertaining, well-written site which has, perhaps, encouraged at least some of you to look at politicians in a new light, as people who have interests outside the narrow sphere of policy and the chamber of the House of Commons. As human. Mostly.

"Thank you so much for reading, and for commenting. I really do value every single person who has taken the trouble to read what I've produced. If I've managed to provoke a reaction or two along the way, great - especially if that reaction has been laughter.

"But now it's time to ride off into the sunset, Macbook in my saddle, and hand over to those less jaded and less cynical. Adios."

Mr Harris became a transport minister in 2006 but was replaced in Gordon Brown's 2008 government reshuffle.

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