EDINBURGH West Liberal Democrat MP John Barrett is to quit at the next general election. After eight years in the Commons he said he wanted a change and to spend more time in Edinburgh. He was due to tell local party members of his decision at a special meeting this afternoon.
He said: “I’m now 55 and if I do the rest of this term and another one, I’m going to be 60. My health is good and I’m definitely not planning on retiring – but I would like to do something else.” Mr Barrett said it was the right time for himself and for the local party for him to move on. He said: “The constituency is in fine fettle. I had a majority of 13,600 at the last general election, the second largest Lib Dem majority in the whole of the UK after Charles Kennedy – and I always think in politics it’s good to go out at the top.”
Mr Barrett has two grandchildren living in Edinburgh, one of whom is disabled, and he said he wanted to have more time for them. But he pledged there would be no let-up in his efforts between now and the general election. “I will be working flat out for the next year doing everything I have done for the last eight years,” he said.
Lib Dem bloggers have already paid their tributes to John’s work:
John Barrett MP to stand down at the next election (Andrew Reeves)
Over 25 years Mr Barrett has been a Liberal Democrat standard bearer on the west side of Edinburgh, as a Community Councillor and campaigner, on Edinburgh City Council and at Westminster, where he was first elected to parliament in 2001.
EXCLUSIVE: John Barrett MP to stand down (Mark Valladares)
I have to admit to a touch of regret at the news, as he’s one of the nicest guys I know, and a bloody good MP too. However, he’s made a decision that is good for him, good for his family, and perhaps he reminds us that MPs are human too.
So Long, Dear Friend (Stephen Glenn)
… this leaves the second safest Lib Dem seat in the UK with a 13,600 majority up for grabs. Often we have heard that incumbency is a major reason preventing Lib Dems from getting more balance both in gender and ethnicity into Westminster. In Scotland only one of our four target seat candidates in a female Katy Gordon in Glasgow North, here is another prime example to get another to get there alongside Jo Swinson, or maybe even a candidate from an ethnic minority of which we currently have none in Westminster in the whole of the UK.
John Barrett MP to stand down at Election (Caron’s Musings)
I’ve always got on very well with John. He has been a very good constituency MP, but I also shared an interest with him on various issues. It was John who spoke at the anti Trident march in Edinburgh in November 2007 and who addressed the protest rally against the Israeli action in Gaza in January of this year. … The House of Commons will be poorer without him and I wish him well for whatever he chooses to do in the future.