Exclusive: Stevenage MP Barbara Follett confirms she will stand down
STEVENAGE MP Barbara Follett has announced that she is to stand down at the next election. Speaking exclusively to The Comet, Mrs Follett, who has been MP since 1997 said: It was in early September when I told the Prime Minister that I would not be stan
STEVENAGE MP Barbara Follett has announced that she is to stand down at the next election.
Speaking exclusively to The Comet, Mrs Follett, who has been MP since 1997 said: ''It was in early September when I told the Prime Minister that I would not be standing. We spoke for half an hour and I made it clear he always has and always will have my full support. I admire and respect him.
''The decision came after much thought and great sadness. I am a political animal to the core and I did hope to stand once again. I love this constituency and have seen it change so much for the better but I will be 67 this Christmas.
''Over the summer my husband and children made it clear they had had enough of my lifestyle and in the blunt way offspring can they told me I wasn't getting younger and that they only really saw me at the beginning and end of each year. I have six grandchildren, the eldest is 16 and due to parliamentary hours I am not seeing much of them.''
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Looking ahead to her possible replacement Mrs Follett said: ''Stevenage is still a winnable seat and if, as seems likely, an election is held on May 6 2010 then Parliament will be dissolved at the end of March. This will not give my successor much time to make an impression. I certainly want to steer clear of the selection process but I am aware that some names have come forward.''
Revealing that she favoured a candidate from the area she said: ''I am not sure which way it will go but I think the party will choose a local candidate.''
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Mrs Follett has also confirmed that both her and her husband, the best-selling author Ken Follett will not be leaving the area after the election: ''Stevenage has given me a home and welcomed me, I love the town and the constituency. It deserved better than it got in the late 80s and 90s and I'm glad with the progress we have made here. I certainly plan to stay here and would like to get even more involved with the community.''
Leader of Stevenage Borough Council Sharon Taylor has confirmed that she will put her name forward as a possible candidate.