Layla Moran has announced to party members in her constituency, Oxford West and Abingdon, that she will not be running for Liberal Democrat leader when Sir Vince Cable bows out.

The announcement comes less than two weeks before the European Elections.

She said: “I am grateful to the large number of constituents, supporters, party members, and elected representatives who have encouraged me to throw my hat into the ring in the forthcoming Liberal Democrat Leadership contest.

“As a relatively new MP, however, my first priority has to be to serve my constituents to the best of my ability.”

Moran’s departure leaves former minister Jo Swinson as clear favourite. She would become the Lib Dem’s first female leader. Sir Ed Davey, the former Energy Secretary, is now Swinson’s main rival.

In the recent local elections in England, the Liberal Democrats gained 703 seats. Current leader Vince Cable described every vote as “a vote for stopping Brexit.”

In an article for New Statesman, Layla Moran said of the result: “It’s good to be back, isn’t it? The Tories and Labour, those cracking leviathans of the two main parties, have (rightly!) been given a drubbing at the polls by voters frustrated at the absolute mess they have made of Brexit.”

Moran has been contacted for comment.