Page last updated at 13:55 GMT, Wednesday, 1 July 2009 14:55 UK

Labour MP not seeking re-election

Derek Wyatt
It is believed the job has taken its toll on Derek Wyatt's personal life

A Labour MP is to step down at the next general election for personal reasons, it has been announced.

Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP Derek Wyatt, who has the smallest majority of any Kent Labour-held seat at 79, was elected in the 1997 landslide.

In a statement, Mr Wyatt said: "I have had a ball as the MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey since 1997 and have done my very best for them in parliament."

A spokeswoman confirmed that he was stepping down for personal reasons.

Mr Wyatt's statement continued: "I think it is important that backbenchers have outside interests.

I was really sad. He is well liked and well respected.
Angela Harrison

"I have undertaken a variety of Fellowships with the Industry and Parliamentary trust including Motorola, the FT City programme, China, India and the Arts.

"I have helped the British Council through the UKIERI programme by being their lead person on IT linking UK and Indian universities."

Angela Harrison, leader of the Swale Borough Council Labour group, said: "I was really sad. He's been with us since [19]95, got elected in [19]97 and he's been very much part of the community ever since then. He is well liked and well respected.

"He said he's stepping down for personal reasons, so one assumes that it's to do with his family."

When asked whether she thought recent expenses row had been a factor, she said: "Derek has always been very honest and open about his expenses, he posts things on his website.

"As far as I can see he has claimed nothing he wasn't entitled to.

In 2006, Mr Wyatt won in the elected representative section at the New Statesman magazine's new media awards.

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