Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Midlothian Labour MP David Hamilton to stand down

David Hamilton has been an MP for 14 years Image copyright ALLAN MILLIGAN
Image caption David Hamilton has been an MP for 14 years

Labour MP for Midlothian David Hamilton has said he will stand down at the general election in May.

In a letter to local party members, Mr Hamilton said he made the announcement with "a great deal of pride, tinged with some considerable sadness".

Mr Hamilton, who is 64, has been an MP for 14 years.

He worked as a miner for 19 years after leaving school at 15 and spent two months behind bars during the 1984-85 strike before being cleared.

As an MP, he has campaigned to compensate ex-miners suffering from work related medical conditions.

In his resignation letter, he wrote: "I believe that it is the right time for me to stand aside to allow the Labour Party in Midlothian to select a younger member, with fresh ideas and the hunger to meet the challenges of this changed landscape."

He said that he wanted to spend more time with his wife, children and grandchildren.

'Immensely proud'

Mr Hamilton was born in Dalkeith in Midlothian and worked as a miner for almost two decades.

A union leader during the strike, he was sacked by the coal board and he and his wife were blacklisted from working and remained unemployed for two years.

He later became a councillor for six years before being elected to the House of Commons at the 2001 general election.

He said: "I have been immensely proud to serve in a Labour government that significantly changed how we live and part of the wider Labour movement since my youth, having served as Monktonhall pit delegate, councillor for Woodburn and MP for Midlothian since 2001."

Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy said: "Davie Hamilton is a gentle giant of the Labour movement.

"He is a former miner and the current Labour whip for Scotland who goes about his politics with a real integrity.

"As a whip he has not been able to speak in parliament yet his campaigning for justice for miners has given a voice to the injustice of blacklisting."

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