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Shock resignation of Labour MP in marginal seat

Crawley MP with a majority of just 37 votes withdraws her candidacy.

A Labour MP in one of Britain's most marginal seats announced her shock resignation this morning.

Crawley MP Laura Moffatt -- who won by just 37 votes in 2005 -- previously announced her candidacy for this year's election and had been campaigning in recent weeks.

"I have given a great deal of thought to this decision," said Moffatt, who will keep her job until the election. "It has been an honour and a privilege to represent the people of Crawley, but I feel the time has come for the Labour Party to seek a new candidate. The work of an MP is challenging and exciting, but it takes its toll on family life, which is why I have taken this difficult decision."

Moffatt gave no further explanation for what appears to be a sudden change of heart. She said she will support whoever her party chooses in the election, expected to take place on May 6.

She added: "I remain firmly committed to fighting for Labour to win the upcoming general election and am confident that, as they take a second look a Labour and a long hard look at the Conservatives, the British public will choose a future fair for all and a new Labour government."

Just last week, Moffatt told local newspaper, the Crawley News, that she was determined to stand against Tory Henry Smith, despite accepting that she was the "underdog" this time.

A Labour Party spokeswoman said the process of selecting a new candidate has begun.