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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 July, 2003, 15:51 GMT 16:51 UK
MP will stand down at election
Denzil Davies MP
Denzil Davies MP : distinguished career
Welsh MP Denzil Davies has decided to stand down at the next general election.

And he has said that his constituency party will want to choose its own candidate and not have an all-women shortlist imposed on it by the Labour Party Wales, as there has been in Swansea East and Blaenau Gwent.

The long-serving Labour MP for Llanelli in Carmarthenshire, west Wales, was a leading Labour figure in the 1970s and '80s, and has been a staunch opponent of devolution.

Announcing his decision on Saturday, 64-year-old Mr Davies said he had enjoyed his time in Parliament.

"It was a great honour to follow Jim Griffiths, who I knew, and an honour to represent Llanelli for almost as long as him," he said.

"By the next election I will have given 35 years of continuous service to the House of Commons, so now is the time to hand over the reins.

"I have tried to represent the views of Llanelli people, and I have no doubt my successor and my local party will work hard and a Labour MP will be re-elected."

And he added: "The local party will want to choose its own candidate and would be upset if not allowed a choice."

Career highlights
Minister of State at the Treasury 1975-79
Treasury and Economic Affairs spokesman 1979-80
Foreign Affairs spokesman 1980-81
Welsh Affairs spokesman 1983
Shadow Defence Secretary 1984-88
Appointed Privy Councillor in 1978
Member of the Public Accounts Committee
Welsh Secretary Peter Hain MP paid tribute to Mr Davies, saying: "Denzil Davies has been one of our most distinguished parliamentarians.

"He is a real Commons man, independent with a strong intellect, and was an excellent Treasury minister in the 1970s."

Carmarthen-born Denzil Davies was educated in Carmarthen, Pembroke College, Oxford and Gray's Inn.

He became an MP in 1970 and held office in both the Wilson and Callaghan governments.

Mr Davies has enjoyed a distinguished parliamentary career. He served as a minister in the Treasury under Jim Callaghan, and was shadow defence secretary during four years of Mrs Thatcher's premiership.

As a moderate, he worked to soften the electoral impact of Labour's unilateralist stance.

However, he resigned from the front bench in 1988, claiming that the then leader, Neil Kinnock, made policy changes without consulting him.

Since then, he has become an entrenched figure on the backbenches, too popular in his constituency to be targeted by New Labour, but far from the centre of power.

He has developed a role as a devoted campaigner on issues including constitutional matters, often going against the grain of Labour thought, and is regarded one of the most fervent Eurosceptics in the House.


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