Page last updated at 10:22 GMT, Tuesday, 2 June 2009 11:22 UK

Hewitt and Hughes stepping down

Patricia Hewitt
Patricia Hewitt left the Cabinet in 2007

Former Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt is to stand down as an MP at the next election but has said the move has nothing to do with the expenses furore.

The Labour MP for Leicester West was health secretary during Tony Blair's latter years as PM. She said she wanted to spend more time with her family.

Children's minister Beverley Hughes has also announced said she will stand down due to "family circumstances".

More than a dozen MPs have said they will step down in recent weeks.

Some have been forced out as a result of controversy over their expenses while a number have said they are leaving Parliament for health or family reasons.

The Daily Telegraph, which has obtained the details of all MPs' expenses for the past four years, has not published any details of Ms Hewitt's claims.

Ms Hewitt has called for the public to be consulted on the revamp of the discredited expenses system.

The following MPs have said in the past three weeks that they will not contest the next election
Conservative: Andrew MacKay, Julie Kirkbride, Douglas Hogg, Sir Peter Viggers, Anthony Steen, Sir Nicholas and Ann Winterton, Christopher Fraser
Labour: Margaret Moran, Ben Chapman, David Chaytor, Ian McCartney, John Smith, Patricia Hewitt, Beverley Hughes, Michael Martin (Speaker)

When she left the Cabinet in 2007, Ms Hewitt said she wanted to spend more time with her family, some of whom live in Australia - where Ms Hewitt was born.

Ms Hewitt was a senior aide to former Labour leader Neil Kinnock and a director of civil liberties organisation Liberty before being elected to Parliament in 1997.

Her decision not to contest the next election cames as Labour MP David Chaytor said he would stand down at the next election after being accused of claiming money for a mortgage he had already paid off.

Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon became the second cabinet minister in 24 hours to repay allowances after he claimed bills in advance for a full year on one property - but claimed a different house was his second home in the same year.

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