Express & Star

'I've had a good run': Veteran Labour MP John Spellar to stand down this summer after 32 years

Veteran Labour MP John Spellar has announced he is not seeking re-election in this summer's General Election.

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John Spellar at a local election count

The 76-year-old politician has represented Warley, which under the boundary changes will now be known as Smethwick, since 1992, when it was known as Warley West.

Mr Spellar, who has long been tipped for a place in the House of Lords, announced the news on X, formerly known as Twitter, this afternoon.

He said: "I informed the Labour Party I do not intend to contest the General Election.

"It has been an honour & pleasure to have worked for the great people of Smethwick and Oldbury for over 30 years, and also as a Government Minister. I look forward to continuing to play an active role in the Labour Movement."

John Spellar

He told the Express & Star today: "As you can imagine my phone is ringing off the hook this afternoon. I've had a good run, and just feel the time is right to go. I still hope to play a part in politics in the future.

"I will be spending the campaign in the constituency helping our new candidate, who will hopefully be in place by the end of the week.

"I have loved representing the people of my constituency, they are great people."

Mr Spellar also represented Northfield from 1982 to 1983. His ministerial career included spells at the Ministry of Defence, Department of Transport and the Northern Ireland Office in Tony Blair's Government.

In November 2017, Mr Spellar was appointed as a member of the UK Parliament delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

He was the Political Officer of the Electrical, Electronic, Telecommunications and Plumbing Union (EETPU) from 1969 to 1992.

Reacting to the news Warley resident Amardeep Singh tweeted: "As a constituent, I have to say this is a shock. You have been the best representative of our constituency and party we could ever have hoped for."

Smethwick Independent candidate and former Old Warley Councillor Jay Anandou told the Express & Star: "After such a long spell as an MP I wish Mr Spellar all the best for the future. However, in the last five years he has not backed the issues which matter to his constituents. The Brandhall green space being lost to development was a huge issue and he did not lift a finger to help our campaign.

"And local businesses who were forced out of the Smethwick Enterprise Centre with a few months notice two years ago, for a development that has yet to start, also were not supported by him. Whoever the Labour candidate is will not have a record of helping local residents."