++ David Heath announces he will stand down as an MP in 2015

by Stephen Tall on October 11, 2013

Lib Dem MP for Somerton and Frome David Heath, who earlier this week lost his rural affairs ministerial job, will stand down at the next election:

 

Elected in 1997 by just 130 votes, David has been re-elected a further three times with increasing majorities – by 2010 it had grown to 1,817. However, there’s no doubt that his decision to retire will make the scrap to hold this seat against the Conservatives even tighter in 2015.

Update: Saturday AM

The Frome Standard reports David telling a constituency meeting last night:

I am sad to leave a job that I hugely enjoyed, and where I think I was making a difference, but it was very clear that there was a need for other people to have opportunities in Government too.

By the time of the next election I will be 61 years old, and I will have represented Frome and Somerset for 30 years. This is not a recent decision. I promised my wife at the last election that I would not stand again, and I intend to keep that promise.

Paddy Ashdown said:

David has been a formidable voice for Somerset in Parliament and an outstanding constituency MP for Somerton and Frome. His voice in Parliament will be much missed locally, but knowing him, I am sure he will go on making a major contribution to both local and national politics.

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.