BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
    You are in: UK: Politics  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
 Tuesday, 28 May, 2002, 15:46 GMT 16:46 UK
Byers resignation statement in full
The full transcript of Transport Secretary Stephen Byers' resignation statement, delivered in 10 Downing Street on Tuesday.


Yesterday morning I asked to see the prime minister and told him I had decided to leave the government.

I'm leaving because I am sure that is the right thing to do for the government and the Labour Party.

I have tried at all times to behave honourably and with the interests of the British people at heart

It's been my privilege to serve in the government since 1997 and it was not an easy decision to resign.

I know the political obituaries will be full of talk of spin doctors, emails and who said what to whom.

In today's political world that is inevitable.

Minimum wage role

But I hope people will also remember the part I played in raising school standards when I was at the Department of Education; the role I played as chief secretary to the Treasury in helping to lay the strong economic foundations we now enjoy.

I hope they will remember the national minimum wage and the fairness at work legislation that I introduced as trade secretary.

And I hope they will see that the long term decisions I have taken to restructure the rail industry will stand the test of time.

I stand by the major policy decisions I have taken and the programmes that I've implemented.

But I also recognise that in other areas there are things I should have done differently.

'No liar'

Government ministers take many decisions and I know that I've made mistakes.

But I have tried at all times to behave honourably and with the interests of the British people at heart.

And the people who know me best know that I'm not a liar.

What is clear to me, however, is that I have become a distraction from what the government is achieving; that the debate we need to have about key policy issues is being distorted by my involvement; that by remaining in office I damage the government.

Having working for the Labour Party all my adult life, it is not easy to admit to that reality.

But I cannot and will not allow this to continue.

Backbench role

The support I have received from parliamentary colleagues, Labour Party members and members of the public has been very important to me.

Now I return to the backbenches to represent the interests of my constituents in North Tyneside and to put the case for further modernisation and reform in order to deliver economic stability, rising living standards and social justice - the things I have always believed in and always will.

This has been a government I wanted serve in but now I know I must leave.

I do so with many regrets and with much sadness but I know with absolute certainty that it's the right thing to do for the Labour Party and above all the government.

  WATCH/LISTEN
  ON THIS STORY
  Stephen Byers
Watch his resignation statement in full
 VOTE RESULTS
Was Stephen Byers right to resign?

Yes
 84.15% 

No
 15.85% 

13895 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

See also:

28 May 02 | Politics
15 Feb 02 | Politics
28 May 02 | Politics
21 May 02 | Politics
08 Nov 01 | Politics
21 May 02 | Politics

 E-mail this story to a friend



© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes