Hove MP Peter Kyle has told Labour bosses that “I will be a candidate at the next election”.
His declaration was in reply to a tick-box form sent to the party’s sitting MPs and hints that were he to be deselected by Labour he would run as an Independent.
The form gave MPs two weeks to decide whether they “wish to stand for reselection as a candidate in the next general election”.
The other box was for those who did not want to stand for reselection, signalling their retirement from the House of Commons at the next election.
Mr Kyle’s handwritten answer on the tick-box form throws down the gauntlet to some of those in his party who want to deselect him.
On the left-right political spectrum, Mr Kyle is nearer the centre than his party’s leader Jeremy Corbyn – and some believe that Mr Kyle should be replaced by a Corbynite.
But Mr Kyle’s supporters say that he won his Hove seat in 2015 when Labour was otherwise wiped out in the south east of England.
And at the 2017 general election he recorded one of the biggest swings to Labour as his majority went up from 1,236 to 18,757.
Mr Kyle, 48, was given the backing of 36,942 voters – more than two thirds of those who turned out – and the turnout was 77.6 per cent.
One of his supporters said that Mr Kyle did not take his position for granted but he took his responsibilities to all his constituents very seriously.
Mr Kyle said that he was committed to the Labour Party and wanted his party in government.
He declined to say that he would consider running as an Independent even though other Labour MPs have left the party since the last general election two years ago.
But he said: “The dedication of residents and our community has inspired me and that is something that I treat quite solemnly.
“I will not let that bond be broken by a small and selective group from wherever they might come in our community.
“People ask me how long I’m going to do this job. My answer is always, firstly, as long as the community wants me and, secondly, as long as I’ve got the stamina to do it well.”
A Labour source said: “Peter feels very emotionally that the only people to boot him out will be the voters.”