Wales politics

Ann Clwyd: Longest serving Welsh Labour MP to step down

Ann Clwyd Image copyright UK Parliament
Image caption Ann Clwyd has represented the Cynon Valley constituency for 35 years

The longest-serving Labour MP in Wales, Ann Clwyd, has announced she will stand down at the next general election.

She has represented the Cynon Valley constituency for 35 years, and is the oldest woman to sit in the House of Commons.

Ms Clwyd made the announcement at her constituency meeting on Friday night.

The 82-year-old said: "It has been a great honour to represent the people of the Cynon Valley for so long.

"I am very grateful for the support for both me and the Labour Party."

"I will continue to fight for the Labour Party at the next general election - whenever it comes."

The former BBC journalist served as an MEP before she was first elected as Cynon Valley's MP in 1984 by-election.

Image caption Ann Clwyd was first elected Labour MP for Cynon Valley in 1984

Over the years she has held many political posts including Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, Shadow Secretary of State for International Development and chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party.

In 1994, she staged a sit-in at Tower Colliery, near Hirwaun, in protest at British Coal's decision to close the pit.

The miners were given the go-ahead to re-open the colliery the following year, after pooling their redundancy money to take it over. It continued producing coal until 2008.

Image caption Ann Clwyd went underground to save Tower Colliery from closure

She was Tony Blair's special envoy in Iraq and she campaigned on the NHS following the death of her husband Owen Roberts in 2012.

In February 2014, she announced she would stand down at the 2015 general election, calling the decision "not her swansong" but a "pause for breath".

Following a row over Labour's decision to use an all-women shortlist to select her successor as candidate, in September that year, she said she wanted to contest the seat after "many requests from Labour voters in the Cynon Valley".

She was re-elected and held the seat in the 2015.

She voted against the triggering of Article 50 which allowed the UK government to begin the Brexit process, and also voted against calling the 2017 general election.

She stood again for Cynon Valley and was re-elected with an increased majority.

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