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Last Updated: Friday, 20 June, 2003, 19:05 GMT 20:05 UK
Veteran Labour MP standing down
Donald Anderson MP
Donald Anderson thanked his local party and people for their support
Long-serving Labour MP Donald Anderson has announced he will stand down at the next general election.

Mr Anderson will have represented the Swansea East constituency for more than 30 years.

The senior backbencher is most known for his role as chair of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee - a position he has held over two Parliaments.

In a letter announcing his resignation to the constituency Labour Party, Mr Anderson said he wanted to spend more time with his wife Dorothy, and do more Christian work.

He is announcing his resignation two years before the general election to give the party plenty of time to choose his successor.

"It has been fulfilling and worthwhile to be at the heart of Swansea life and politics," he said.

I believe deeply in the dignity of every individual
Donald Anderson MP

"There can be few greater privileges than to represent your home city and people in Parliament."

International affairs expert Mr Anderson said the duties of Westminster politicians had undergone dramatic changes in recent years.

"Clearly, the setting up of the assembly has radically altered the way our politics operate, which in turn has changed the role of Welsh MPs," he said.

"I have always done my best to use my talents, experience and energy to help individual constituents with their problems and to live up to our Labour ideals.

"I believe deeply in the dignity of every individual."

Mr Anderson, who was educated at Swansea Grammar School and Swansea University, also thanked the local party and people for supporting him.

Gwyneth Dunwoody and Donald Anderson
Gwyneth Dunwoody and Donald Anderson both survived attempts to oust them as committee chairs

He was first elected as a Labour MP for Monmouth in 1966, although he lost his seat for four years later in 1970.

He returned to the Commons as MP for Swansea East in 1974.

Mr Anderson hit the headlines in 2001, when controversial government attempts to oust him as chair of the Commons foreign affairs select committee were defeated by a revolt of more than 100 Labour MPs.

Mr Anderson has been a consistent supporter of the European Union, since before Britain's entry into the European Economic Community.

Mr Anderson, who lists his hobbies as church work, walking and talking, is socially conservative on matters like abortion, homosexuality and alcohol.

He was also a supporter of the "Keep Sunday Special" campaign against Sunday trading.

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