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Nick Raynsford MP for Greenwich and Woolwich to stand down at next election
GREENWICH and Woolwich MP Nick Raynsford will not contest the next election, it has been announced.
Mr Raynsford, who has been the area's parliamentary representative since 1992 in what is seen as an ultra safe Labour seat, made the announcement at a meeting of Labour members last night (March 21).
During his time as a politician he has been Minister for Local and Regional Government from 2001 to 2005 and even considered seeking Labour candidacy as Mayor for London at one stage.
As the area's representative he was instrumental in getting a DLR and Crossrail station in Woolwich, though his support for a controversial hotel redevelopment at Greenwich Market proved less popular.
In a statement, he said: "After more than 20 years representing Greenwich and Woolwich in Parliament, I have decided to stand down at the next General Election, expected in 2015.
“It has been an enormous privilege to represent this wonderful constituency, and I am proud of the advances which have been made over the past 20 years to improve the lives and prospects of local residents, strengthen the local economy and preserve and enhance our heritage and environment.
"I have also had the good fortune to contribute as a Government Minister between 1997 and 2005 to a series of measures which have improved the standard of public services and the quality of life for people throughout our country.
“We still face huge challenges, not least because of the harsh and damaging policies of the current Government, but I am confident, particularly if we return a Labour Government at the next General Election, that the future will be brighter.
“As I will be 70 in 2015, I feel that will be the right time to stand aside. But I will continue to fulfil all my responsibilities in the meantime as MP for Greenwich and Woolwich and to be as available to constituents as I have endeavoured to be over the past 21 years.
"I will also work closely with whoever is chosen as my successor to secure a Labour victory at the next General Election.
“I have benefitted hugely from the support, advice and hard work of many people over the time I have been MP for Greenwich and Woolwich, and I would like to extend my sincere thanks to all of them. I owe them a huge debt of gratitude”.
London Assembly member for Lewisham and Greenwich Len Duvall wrote on Twitter today that he would be interested in the Labour candidacy if there was no all-woman candidate list.
Mr Raynsford is the area's second long-standing MP to step down recently, following Joan Ruddock's decision not to contest the Lewisham Deptford seat at the 2015 election.
There, Labour has introduced an all female shortlist for their candidate. Names confirmed so far include Councillor Vicky Foxcroft from Brockley ward, Councillor Janet Daby from Whitefoot and Ladywell resident Paula Hirst, the former chairwoman of charity Volunteering Lewisham.