Page last updated at 11:06 GMT, Saturday, 9 January 2010

MP Liz Blackman to quit at next election

Liz Blackman MP
Ms Blackman is standing down to avoid long hours in Parliament

A Derbyshire MP has announced she is to stand down at the General Election.

The former government whip Liz Blackman said she remained loyal to Gordon Brown's leadership but wants more time to "enjoy and support her family".

She was elected to the marginal seat of Erewash in 1997. The seat is between Derby and Nottingham, where Labour will be defending a majority of 7,084.

The MP said she did not want to be working a 70-hour week by the end of the next parliament.

Ms Blackman made the announcement to members of her local party.

'No questions'

For some she is best remembered for comprehensively beating the former TV presenter and East Midlands Euro MP Robert Kilroy-Silk at the last General Election, when he almost lost his deposit and trailed in fourth place.

Ms Blackman was also a parliamentary private secretary to neighbouring MP and former cabinet minister Geoff Hoon.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown described Ms Blackman as a "tireless campaigner" for Erewash.

In her retirement statement to party workers Ms Blackman said she has no questions to answer on her expense claims and nothing to pay back.

The ex-whip spent hundreds of pounds just prior to the end of the financial year to take her second home claim as near to the maximum as possible, the Daily Telegraph had alleged.

Last-minute items included a £199 DVD player, a £150 fax and a £99 rug.

In her response to the paper's claim Ms Blackman said that the household items for her rented London flat were purchased "with the full approval of the House authorities".

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