Deputy Speaker stepping down

Sylvia Heal has been a Labour MP since 1997
Sylvia Heal has been a Labour MP since 1997

By staff

One of the Commons' deputy Speakers, the Labour MP Sylvia Heal, has announced she is standing down at the general election.

The Halesowen and Rowley Regis MP said she did not want to continue working up to 14 hours a day for six days a week for another five years, because her "commitment" to her constituents meant she could not do the job "any other way".

In a break from the deputy Speakers' neutrality during Commons sittings, Ms Heal expressed pride in Labour's achievements in power.

"We have made record investment in the NHS and our schools, introduced the first minimum wage, equality legislation, help for families and pensioners, which have made such a difference to places like Halesowen and Rowley Regis," she said.

"I have worked and campaigned for the Labour party for over 50 years and will continue to work as hard as I can to retain the Halesowen and Rowley Regis constituency and to keep a Labour government at the election."

Ms Heal did not stand for the Speaker post after Michael Martin was forced to quit at the height of last summer's expenses scandal.

She was first elected in 1997 and had a majority of over 4,000 in the 2005 general election, after being elected deputy Speaker in 2000.


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