Page last updated at 16:18 GMT, Saturday, 30 January 2010

Labour Don Touhig, MP for Islwyn, is to stand down

Don Touhig MP
Don Touhig served in the Wales Office and the Ministry of Defence

Labour MP Don Touhig has announced he is to stand down at the general election.

Mr Touhig was first elected for the safe Labour seat of Islwyn in south Wales in 1995.

He was parliamentary private secretary to Gordon Brown when he was chancellor, before joining the UK government whips' office in 1999.

He went on the hold ministerial posts in the Welsh Office and the Ministry of Defence.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown paid tribute to his record, saying: "Don served as a hard-working minister and a distinguished representative within senior parliamentary committees, and yet never lost sight of what mattered to the Islwyn constituents he represented, dedicating himself to a wide range of community groups in south Wales."

Mr Touhig told officers of Islwyn Labour Party of his decision at a meeting on Friday.

In a statement afterwards he said: "I have been active in politics for over 45 years and had the privilege of serving for 35 years - 15 years as MP for Islwyn and 20 years before that on Gwent County Council.

'Huge privilege'

"After 35 years I think it is time to move on. I am associated with a number of voluntary organisations and I hope to continue this work.

"I owe a great debt to the Labour Party and the people of Islwyn who have placed their confidence in me to represent them in Parliament.

"It has been a huge privilege to represent Islwyn in the House of Commons," he added.

Cllr Tom Williams, Chair of Islwyn Labour Party said: "Don has been an extremely hard working MP.

"He has helped so many people and has always been a strong supporter of local community groups.

"I would like to thank him for his years of service to the Islwyn constituency - he will be a hard act to follow. We wish him well in the future."

Paul Murphy, Torfaen MP, also paid tribute to Mr Touhig.

"Don and I have been lifelong friends, and we joined the Labour Party together in 1964.

"I want to pay tribute to him as a very effective and successful Minister in the Wales Office and Ministry of Defence, and as a committed constituency MP for Islwyn.

"Neil Kinnock was some act to follow, but Don did that with aplomb. The Commons will be a poorer place without him, he said.

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