Peter Hain to stand down as an MP at next election

Peter Hain said it had been a 'very tough decision'

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The former cabinet minister Peter Hain has announced he will stand down as a Labour MP at the general election.

The MP for Neath had been reselected by his local party and was intending to run again next year.

But Mr Hain, 64, who became an MP in 1991, said it was now time to "draw stumps" on his Commons career.

The former Northern Ireland and Welsh secretary told the BBC it had been a "tough decision" but that he would continue to "fight for Labour".

Start Quote

Whether on the backbenches, the front bench or in the cabinet he has served the Labour Party and the country tirelessly”

End Quote Ed Miliband Labour leader

During his cabinet career, Mr Hain also had stints as work and pensions secretary and leader of the House of Commons.

"Having been reselected last December as Labour candidate for Neath, I was planning to stand again next year," he said.

"However, after considerable thought and in discussion with Ed Miliband, leader of the party and for many years my close colleague, I have decided to draw stumps on my House of Commons career."

He also took to Twitter, writing: "Standing down as an MP, but moving on to remain active in politics, campaigning for justice, freedom, equality, democracy."

Ed Miliband and Peter Hain pictured in 2010 Ed Miliband said he would miss Mr Hain's humour and friendship
Gordon Brown and Peter Hain Mr Hain served as a cabinet minister under both Gordon Brown and Tony Blair

Speaking on Friday night, Mr Hain told BBC Wales: "I've been in politics for nearly 50 years - all my life, really. I'm not going to go away.

"I'm going to fight for Neath, I'll stay living here, and I want to fight for Labour and to support Ed Miliband.

"I can do that in all sorts of different ways."

He said he was "privileged" to have represented Neath and his closeness to the constituency made this a "very tough decision" to make.

Mr Hain refused to be drawn on whether his future role would involve taking up a seat in the House of Lords.

'Integrity and wisdom'

Labour leader Mr Miliband paid tribute to Mr Hain, describing him as a "political activist and campaigner".

"It goes without saying that his integrity, wisdom and firmness in speaking up for those least empowered to speak for themselves will all be sorely missed," he said.

"Whether on the backbenches, the front bench or in the cabinet he has served the Labour Party and the country tirelessly."

Mr Miliband added that he would miss his colleague's "personal friendship and humour on the green benches".

Peter Hain at a Labour Party regional conference in 1991 Mr Hain pictured at a Labour party conference in the year he became an MP
Peter Hain pictured in 1973 Mr Hain was first known for his work in the anti-apartheid campaign

Raised in South Africa, Mr Hain became known as an anti-apartheid campaigner.

His family was forced into exile in 1966 because of their involvement in the movement.

Mr Hain spoke at a thanksgiving service for Nelson Mandela at Westminster Abbey in March, having been a friend of the former South African president.

He entered mainstream politics in the UK and was elected as the Labour MP for Neath in South Wales in a by-election in 1991.

In 1997, when Tony Blair's Labour Party won power, he became a whip and then became a junior minister in the Welsh Office, before becoming secretary of state for Wales in 2002.

'Unstinting work'

Mr Hain was given the additional role of leader of the Commons the following year before becoming Northern Ireland secretary in May 2005.

In 2007, he announced he would seek election to become deputy Labour leader but failed to properly register donations to his campaign, leading him to quit as work and pensions and Welsh secretary the following year.

In 2009 he returned to government as secretary of state for Wales.

He resigned from the shadow cabinet in May 2012 to campaign for a barrage across the Severn estuary.

The Neath constituency Labour Party also paid tribute to Mr Hain's career, saying he had helped to deliver "further devolution for the people of Wales" and praising his "unstinting work to negotiate a peace settlement in Northern Ireland".

"We thank Peter unreservedly for what he has done for us and are sure he will continue to play an active role in the constituency and the party," its statement read.

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  71.  
    @anntreneman Ann Treneman, political sketchwriter

    tweets: Dave's voice is going on strike I think. This makes me wonder if Dave's frog in his throat is labour supporting

     
  72.  
    12:33: Trident 'not moving'

    The Ministry of Defence releases a statement saying: "Today's Scottish Daily Mail inaccurately reports that Ministry of Defence officials are examining plans to move Britain's nuclear-armed submarines from Scotland to Wales. The MOD is fully committed to retaining the deterrent on the Clyde and indeed we are basing all our submarines there from 2020. We can be very clear the MOD is therefore not planning to move the nuclear deterrent from HM Naval Base Clyde to Wales, or anywhere else."

     
  73.  
    12:33: House of Commons Parliament

    Conservative MPs cheer the mention of the party's "long-term economic plan" catchphrase by Lancashire and Fleetwood MP Eric Ollerenshaw, who asks about support for coastal communities.

     
  74.  
    @ShippersUnbound Tim Shipman, Sunday Times political editor

    Tweets: In the House that felt like 4-2 to Cameron. On television I suspect it was 4-2 to Miliband. So I'm going 3-3. More hot air than light

     
  75.  
    12:29: Hinchingbrooke hospital House of Commons Parliament

    Lib Dem MP Julian Huppert raises the privately-run Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Cambridgeshire. Mr Cameron says Labour is in confusion over the extent of private sector involvement in the NHS.

     
  76.  
    @nicholaswatt Nicholas Watt, Guardian chief political correspondent

    Tweets: Will @David_Cameron's voice last till end of PMQs

     
  77.  
    12:27: A whisper in Cameron's ear House of Commons Parliament

    George Osborne has a habit of whispering advice to the prime minister as questions are asked, and this week is no exception. He's leaned forward, unlike every other Cabinet frontbencher, throughout these exchanges so he can get past Northern Ireland secretary Theresa Villiers to give Cameron hints.

    David Cameron answers questions at PMQs - with help from George Osborne
     
  78.  
    Vicki Young, BBC Political Correspondent

    tweets: Felt like both Cameron and Miliband went off script at #PMQs as they yelled at each other about NHS. Cam's voice croaky from shouting

     
  79.  
    12:25: Skinner on food banks House of Commons Parliament

    Labour veteran Dennis Skinner asks David Cameron to apologise to people using food banks, on "zero hours" contracts and using payday loans. Mr Cameron says the government has acted on food banks and zero hours contracts, and uses the question to mention criticism of Labour election tactics from former Labour ministers Alan Milburn and John Hutton in this morning's papers.

     
  80.  
    @bbcnickrobinson Nick Robinson, BBC Political Editor

    tweets: Small irony. Watching from my sickbed as PM tries to shield himself on NHS by quoting my "weaponise" report. Time for an aspirin! :) #pmqs

     
  81.  
    @MSmithsonPB Mike Smithson, Political Betting

    Tweets: Today's #PMQs is the best argument against having TV debates. This is dire.

     
  82.  
    @Kevin_Maguire Kevin Maguire, Daily Mirror associate editor

    Tweets; Miliband let Cameron off the hook for breaking promises by shutting NHS units. Won't keep that #pmqs in his video highlights

     
  83.  
    @thomasbrake Tom Brake, Lib Dem MP

    tweets: #pmqs nhs centre stage. All that was missing was a reference to #savesthelier.

     
  84.  
    @andybell5news Andy Bell, Channel 5 News political editor

    tweets: Win for Cameron - Miiband failed to make new #NHS attack stick after NHS England shot it down - also still vulnerable on the w word

     
  85.  
    12:19: Stuck in the middle? House of Commons Parliament

    Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Gilbert is next up after the prime minister's tussle with Ed Miliband. He invokes Stealers Wheel hit Stuck in the Middle with You, saying there are "clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right".

     
  86.  
    Robin Brant, BBC Political Correspondent

    tweets: Did I just hear correctly, @Ed_Miliband accused PM of having a 'war on wales' ?

     
  87.  
    12:17: Leaders clash House of Commons Parliament

    More angry exchanges between the leaders. After David Cameron calls the Opposition "completely useless", Mr Milband says there are "99 days to kick out a prime minister who has broken all his promises on the NHS".

     
  88.  
    @iainmartin1 Iain Martin, political journalist

    Even by the standards of #PMQs this is dire.

     
  89.  
    @ShippersUnbound 12:16: Tim Shipman, Sunday Times political editor

    Tweets: Michael Gove doing a good impersonation of the Churchill dog, nodding judiciously as Dave speaks

     
  90.  
    @DavidJonesMP 12:15: David Jones, Conservative MP

    tweets: Remarkably, Miliband raises Welsh NHS; silly, silly.

     
  91.  
    @tombradby Tom Bradby, ITV News political editor

    Tweets: Ed is normally pretty good at PMQs, but he looks a bit flustered today. This issue over the word 'weaponise' is tricky.

     
  92.  
    12:14: Miliband v Cameron House of Commons Parliament

    David Cameron is now questioning Ed Miliband's motives about the NHS. "He told the political editor of the BBC he wants to weaponise the NHS, so I ask him again: get up there and withdraw." Miliband responds - "I'll tell him what my motive is: it's to rescue the National Health Service from this Tory government."

     
  93.  
    12:12: Picture: Ed Miliband asking question
    Ed Miliband in the Commons
     
  94.  
    12:13: House of Commons Parliament

    Now we're on to this morning's story about "major incidents" being declared by NHS trusts. Mr Cameron says the new guidance on when one can be declared was issued by the NHS in the West Midlands, "without any instruction" from ministers or the Department of Health.

     
  95.  
    12:10: Miliband v Cameron House of Commons Parliament

    Ed Miliband is asking about David Cameron's "bare knuckle fight" to preserve A&E and maternity units. The PM responds by returning to the Labour leader's comment - to BBC political editor Nick Robinson - about wanting to "weaponise" the NHS. He demands an apology, Mr Miliband says it is a "ridiculous smokescreen".

     
  96.  
    @iainjwatson Iain Watson, BBC political correspondent

    Tweets: No surprise that Ed Miliband goes on the #NHS consistently top of voters concerns according to polls

     
  97.  
    12:09: Picture: Ed Miliband House of Commons Parliament
    Ed Miliband
     
  98.  
    12:08: Cigarette packaging Robin Brant Political Correspondent, BBC News

    The Prime Minister's official spokesman has refused to say directly if David Cameron supports moves to bring it in The government has pledged to give MPs a vote on new regulations before the election. Asked if the PM was concerned about the prospect of a rebellion by some of his own MPs the spokesman said: "The right thing to do is to proceed as the government has set out for some considerable time."

     
  99.  
    12:06: Labour's Eds listen to first answer
    Ed Balls and Ed Miliband
     
  100.  
    12:06: NHS at PMQs House of Commons Parliament

    The NHS gets its first PMQs mention in question two, from Labour MP Lilian Greenwood who suggests the health service is not a priority for David Cameron. The PM says the government has invested in the NHS and attacks Labour's record in Wales.

     

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