Election 2015 England

William Hague, Sir Hugh Bayley and Anne McIntosh on 67 years in office

William Hague, Sir Hugh Bayley and Anne McIntosh Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption William Hague, Sir Hugh Bayley and Anne McIntosh will all leave Parliament this year

North Yorkshire MPs William Hague, Sir Hugh Bayley and Anne McIntosh will step down from front line politics this May. They told BBC Radio York's political reporter Gemma Dillon what they will take from a combined total of 67 years in the Commons.

First election

All three have equally fond memories of their first electoral success.

Conservative MP Mr Hague, who has represented Richmond for 26 years, fought a winter by-election triggered by the resignation of Sir Leon Brittan. He remembers the 24 February 1989 vividly.

"It was really cold with the snow pouring down in the Dales, you wondered if anyone would come out to vote," he said.

"But, it was successful, I got elected and I have had 26 very, very happy, hardworking but fulfilling years since then."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption William Hague, pictured here in 1997, cites the Disability Discrimination Act as his 'proudest political achievement'

For Sir Hugh Bayley, the Labour MP for York Central, his first election battle was in 1987.

He lost to Conal Gregory of the Conservatives by just 147 votes but went on to win the seat in 1992.

He said of his win: "It was a huge moment, a great achievement, but all the Labour party members around me were terribly depressed because we hoped we'd win the general election.

"We'd failed to do so and the last thing they wanted to do was celebrate."

Meanwhile, Anne McIntosh will stand down as Conservative MP for Thirsk and Malton after being de-selected by the party.

Ms McIntosh, who won the 1997 race to be named MP for the now defunct Vale of York constituency, said: "When people say it's a so called safe seat that makes it even more daunting as if anything that makes it yours to lose'.

Once she was returned as an MP she said she felt "deeply honoured and proud" that her voters had chosen to return her to the House of Commons.

Greatest achievements

Despite having held some of the highest offices in the land, including Leader of the Opposition and Foreign Secretary, Mr Hague highlighted writing and passing through Parliament the Disability Discrimination Act of 1995 as his "proudest political achievement".

He described it as a "landmark piece of legislation in disability rights and opportunities that is still improving the lives of tens of thousands of people".

He said the legislation had its roots in North Yorkshire as he sat down in Brompton on Swale, near Richmond, with a group of disabled people asking them about their lives and what they needed.

Image caption Sir Hugh Bayley, pictured here in 1992, has been the MP for York for 23 years

Sir Hugh said he was most proud of how York has prospered economically over the last twenty years.

"Unemployment has always been lower than the regional average here," he said. "It is now very low indeed."

"There was enormous job creation when Labour was in power. The number of jobs in my part of York went up from 40,000 to 57,000."

However, the York MP also admits that the gap between high and low pay in the city remains high.

He believes he should have done more to secure affordable housing for people in York.

Ms McIntosh points to a number of road safety improvements she thinks have made a great difference to people living in her constituency, including a bridge across the A1 at Rainton and a second roundabout at Easingwold.

Overall she said she hoped she had been a "safe pair of hands" and that her constituents felt they could come to her to voice their concerns.

What next?

Image caption Anne McIntosh, pictured here in 1997, said she hopes she will be remember as a 'safe pair of hands'

So what next for the MPs?

Mr Hague said he and his wife Ffion have bought a property in Wales, but they will keep their home in North Yorkshire and will split their time between the two.

He said he would be seen "a bit more often striding in the hills above Swaledale and Wensleydale rather than at public meetings" and intends to write books.

Sir Hugh said he was retiring from the House of Commons before his voters get "fed up of him", but still wants to be involved in politics.

He said his work as an MP has exposed him to the lives of people in developing countries and he wants to do something to help "improve the life conditions of the poorest of the poor".

Ms McIntosh said she also intends to stay in North Yorkshire and hopes that people will still feel they have a "shoulder to cry on" and a "friendly face to turn to".

To hear more from William Hague, Sir Hugh Bayley and Anne McIntosh tune in to BBC Radio York on Wednesday 25 March at 18:30 GMT.

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