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Monday, 28 October, 2002, 08:04 GMT
'Beer-loving' MP to quit
John McWilliam, MP
Mr McWilliam was elected to parliament in 1979
Tyneside MP John McWilliam is stepping down at the next general election.

The MP for Blaydon in Gateshead, known for enjoying a pint in his local, will be 65 at the next election.

The Scottish-born Labour veteran, now a deputy Speaker, who chairs major debates at Westminster, says he will miss both his constituency and parliament.

Mr McWilliam came to Tyneside from Edinburgh where he was a senior councillor and a post office engineer, and was elected in 1979.

Marriage split

His decision to go is likely to start a scramble to land the safe Labour seat, which Mr McWilliam won with almost 55% of the vote.

Mr McWilliam, a former senior Labour Whip and deputy shadow leader of the Commons, is currently trying to prevent the painting of the Blaydon Races being sold from Tyneside by the Marriott Hotel chain.

Mr McWilliam shocked his constituency when he split from his wife and former secretary Lesley in 1991 after their 26 year marriage fell apart.

In 2001 she sued him for constructive dismissal, claiming she had not been paid properly for her work when she continued as his secretary after they split. The case ended out of court.


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21 Oct 02 | Politics
17 May 02 | England
11 Apr 02 | England
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