Andrew Stunell to stand down in 2015; Lisa Smart selected

stunnell and smartAndrew Stunell has announced that in 2015 he will be retiring as the MP for Hazel Grove, where he was first elected in 1997.

Andrew, who was knighted in this summer’s Birthday Honours, has held several roles within the Parliamentary party, including Chief Whip, Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, and more recently as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in the Coalition.

Before entering Parliament he had a wealth of experience in local government, serving as a councillor for many years, as an officer at the Association of Liberal Democratic Councillors, and as Vice President of the Local Government Association.

Andrew writes:

My decision wasn’t an easy one, but the hard fact is that I shall be 72 in 2015, and 77 at the end of the next Parliament in 2020.  I know just how hard every Liberal Democrat MP has to work to get our message across and to make sure local people’s cares and concerns are taken up.

Wasting no time, Hazel Grove Liberal Democrats have selected Lisa Smart as their Parliamentary candidate.  She is known to many of us across the country as an energetic campaigner and impressive speaker.  Professionally, she has a background in international business and is the Chief Executive of an international development charity.



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  • How many other elderly Lib Dem MPs in once safe seats will be standing down in 2015?

  • Brian Robinson 1st Oct '13 - 10:24am

    Stunell, not Stunnell. I was taught: “as in Alliance” – but that just shows my age. (And I guess sub-editors will be happy at the news of his retirement, even if none of the rest of us are.)

  • Democratic selection, advertised widely, was it?

  • Liberal Neil 1st Oct '13 - 12:55pm

    It will have been conducted under the party’s normal rules which involve a local party selection committee advertising for candidates from the party’s list and then producing a shortlist followed by the shortlisted candidates campaigning to the members, a hustings and the members then voting in a one member one vote selection.

  • Steve Bradley 1st Oct '13 - 1:00pm

    And selected through one person one vote amongst local members, with no parachuting and not a Trade Union in sight…! :o)

  • @ Simon, Neil, Steve – Please forgive my apparent cynicism. My intended point was that, assuming party rules have been adhered to, as you rightly point out they surely must have been, the announcement of his stepping down is hardly news, is it? It must have been public weeks ago, at least, to anyone interested enough? Existing MPs are just reselected by Constituency Parties without a contest (unless the local party votes for one, which is tantamount to deselection, and almost unheard of in the party, in my experience), so as soon as the advert was placed, it was effectively public he was standing down.
    One wonders why the newhounds of Lib Dem Voice did not carry the story then? How many other selections for currently-held seats are going on at the moment, without any reporting by LDV?
    This is after all ‘The most-read website by and for Lib Dem supporters’.

  • Simon McGrath 1st Oct '13 - 2:32pm

    The members is Hazel Grove have made an excellent choice in Lisa.

  • Tony Greaves 1st Oct '13 - 3:18pm

    The local party successfully tried to keep it away from the press until a replacement candidate was selected. Why should it have been paraded here?

    Andrew has been a brilliant MP and was a very competent minister (not given credit within the party, since he got on with the job rather than grandstanding). His work in winning Hazel Grove and then as MP – always on the back of outstanding Councillors and local election results, and a highly successful LD Council administration – has probably meant it will be held fairly safely by a competent candidate. The Tory publicity that they can now win the seat is whistling in the wind.


  • Stuart Mitchell 1st Oct '13 - 6:23pm

    “Andrew has been a brilliant MP”

    I, like many Stockport residents, will remember Stunell chiefly for his rousing attack on Tory plans to increase tuition fees to £7,000 :-

    “I look around Stockport, and more and more I see young people returning from university with no job and a bank balance tens of thousands of pounds in the red. What sort of future is that? Labour and the Tories… don’t care about young people – they just want to saddle them with staggering amounts of debt. University education should be free and everyone who has the ability should be able to go – and not put off by the cost.”

    Fourteen months later, he voted for £9,000 tuition fees.

  • Tony Greaves 1st Oct '13 - 8:21pm

    It is a good thing therefore that the new system of repayment of tuition fees does not saddle anyone with “debt”, just a liability to make repayments if and when they earn enough to be able to afford to do so. And that most students will be better off under this system than under the system that Labour created.


  • Stuart Mitchell 1st Oct '13 - 10:19pm

    “the new system of repayment of tuition fees does not saddle anyone with “debt”, just a liability to make repayments if and when they earn enough to be able to afford to do so.”

    I think you’ll find that the Labour scheme in operation from 2006 was also “just a liability to make repayments if and when they earn enough to be able to afford to do so”.

    I suspect most people would agree with Andrew Stunell that such a liability is, by definition, a “debt”.

  • At Alisdair – Belated thanks for this information.

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