Mr Dowd who has represented Lewisham West and Penge since 1992, became the eighth Labour MP to announce his departure following Parliament’s backing of Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision to hold a snap election on June 8.
It in effect brings to a conclusion a 45-year long political career in the borough as before becoming an MP Mr Dowd served on Lewisham council for 20 years.
The MP was returned to the safe seat with a majority of 12,714, – an increased share of the vote – at the last general election in 2015.
Mr Dowd was among the rebels in February who defied Jeremy Corbyn’s whip and voted against the triggering of Article 50 to launch the country’s exit from the European Union.
He said: “I enjoyed representing the people of Lewisham and so have mixed feelings about bringing it all to a conclusion. I did decide with my family that the 2015 election would be my last one but I did of course think that this would run until 2020. The Labour Party faces huge problems getting its message across and so it needs someone perhaps younger with more energy and drive
“I did think it a strong possibility Mrs May would call an election now due to the political dynamic and the perception that the Labour Party is at its weakest position in modern times. Nothing is going to move on with Brexit until the autumn and so now is the perfect time. The election will not change anything. We will still be stuck with the difficult negotiations with the EU.”
The 66-year-old said: “Brexit and the referendum to leave Europe was the greatest issue in the whole of my time by a long, long way.
“I still believe it is going to be calamitous for Britain for years to come and for London in particular. It will have a huge impact on the financial service industry and jobs are already being cut and that doesn’t include those which won’t now be coming here – it’s going to be a huge, huge blow.
“It is the issue over which I have had the most contact from concerned constituents – even more so than the battle to save Lewisham Hospital. The best option is for us to stay in the European Union and push for reforms. I just hope we can get a good deal.
“And in terms of Labour’s election success he said: “I always used to say I am
cautiously optimistic but I am not. I think we will do well in London but can’t say we will in the rest of the country.”
Mr Dowd, who was born in Germany as his father was in the air force and was based there and his mother was German, has lived in Forest Hill since his family returned to the UK when he was seven months old.
Sir Steve Bullock, the Mayor of Lewisham, said: “Jim’s ties to Lewisham go deep. He has lived here almost his entire life, went to school here, served for 20 years as a councillor, and was chosen as the borough’s civic Mayor in 1991. As one of our MPs he has spoken up for this community again and again, most notably in working with his fellow Lewisham MPs to take the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign fight into the House of Commons.
“I know Jim will continue to be a strong advocate for this part of South-east London and will speak out fearlessly when he sees injustice, poor government or simple stupidity damage it.
“I wish him and his wife Janet well and trust he will enjoy a long and happy time in whatever he does next.”
Lewisham councillor Alan Hall, a former chairman of Lewisham West & Penge Labour Party, said: “I pay tribute to his commitment to carrying out the role. He will be missed.”
Lewisham councillor Liam Curran is among those throwing his hat into the ring to be the Labour Party Prospective Parliamentary candidate.