September 23 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Veteran Holborn and St Pancras MP Frank Dobson has confirmed he will step down at next year’s general election after 35 years in the role.
"I have decided to pack in when people are stopping me in the street to say they hope I am not going – rather than waiting until they ask why the hell I am still around"
The Labour MP today released a statement confirming his retirement and reflecting on his time in office.
He timed the release of the statement to coincide with a Holborn and St Pancras Labour Party meeting at Camden Town Hall tonight where his impending departure will be announced to members.
In his statement, Mr Dobson, 74, who became health secretary in 1997 under Tony Blair’s government, said: “I have decided to pack in when people are stopping me in the street to say they hope I am not going – rather than waiting until they ask why the hell I am still around.
“It has been an honour to represent the people of Holborn and St Pancras for all these years and to have made at least some contribution to making it a better place to live, including helping save Covent Garden from redevelopment, getting St Pancras International as the Eurostar station, rebuilding University College London Hospital, saving Barts and refurbishing the Whittington Hospital.
“Our constituency includes an enormous variety of communities and loyalties with widely differing views on many issues. So, it’s impossible to agree with everybody and I have always tried to make my position clear on issues as they arise.
“I am proud of the people I represent. They get on together and help one another. Outsiders who have tried to stir up divisions have always failed. Common sense and human decency have prevailed.
“It has been hard work keeping up with the needs and aspirations of local people and helping resolve their problems. My constituents have been slow to chide and swift to bless. So I have enjoyed the job. I will keep at it until the next election and give whatever help I can to my successor.”
All eyes now switch to the possible contenders bidding to fill Mr Dobson’s shoes, with former CPS chief Sir Keir Starmer, London Assembly Member Tom Copley and former Camden Council leader Raj Chada all believed to be keen on the Labour safe seat.