I have announced that I will be standing down as an MP at this forthcoming election. Although I fully support my party’s programme and relished the opportunity that the campaign would bring to argue for a Labour government, I will turn 74 on the day before polling day, and do not feel that it would be right for me to commit myself to serve another five years in parliament at this stage of my life.
It has been an immense privilege to serve my local community in parliament for such a long period of time, and I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to my constituents for placing their trust in me at the past six elections, and I hope they will also give the same trust to whoever succeeds me as the Labour candidate for West Bromwich West. I would also like to express my gratitude to the countless party activists who have worked tirelessly in support of my general election campaigns in the past, as well as all of my members of staff, both past and present, who have done so much to make sure I am able to represent my constituents to the best of my ability.
Throughout my time in parliament, I have done my utmost to serve all communities equally on both personal and policy issues, and I will continue to do this in whatever role I play in the politics of the Black Country in future.
On Wednesday 5th November, I delivered my final speech to the House of Commons, thanking all of those who have supported me over the years, and offering a few of my own reflections on my time in politics. The video is available to view below.