Don Foster MP to stand down in 2015

One of the highlights of a dismal and disappointing election in 1992 was undoubtedly Don Foster’s election in Bath. He won the seat from then Tory party chairman Chris Patten.

Don has tonight announced that he won’t be standing in next year’s general election, it was in fact Jonathan Calder tweeted the news first, which led to me staking out Don’s Twitter and website looking for an announcement. When it came, it was on the Bath and North East Somerset website. Don Foster

After what will have been 23 wonderful years, this has been a very difficult decision to make. It has been an enormous privilege since 1992 to serve the people of this great city through five parliamentary sessions.

However, my task is not over: there are 17 months before the next election. I have every intention of continuing to do all I can to work with and for local people. I will do my utmost to ensure that Bath continues to grow from strength to strength as a great place in which to live and work.

Nick Clegg praised Don’s long service:

Don has been an outstanding MP and will be hugely missed by his constituents and his colleagues, in Parliament. His energy, humour and tenacity are unrivalled and I have seen first-hand Don’s tireless efforts to serve Bath as an MP and Britain as a Minister. After 33 years as a public servant – as a local councillor on Avon County Council and as MP for Bath – Don will be hugely missed. And with five stunning victories behind him, he leaves big shoes to fill.

Don is 66 and it’s perhaps not surprising that he has decided to retire. He is currently the Liberal Democrat Chief Whip


* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Tory gain? A 12000 maj doesn’t seem so much when all those Labour votes stop lending their votes to the Lib Dems to keep the tories out and the personal vote is gone along with Don.

  • Don Foster has always been an excellent ambassador for the LibDems and all credit to him for indefatigably supporting our party line. Indeed, Don was glad to go out on a limb and support us by backing the EU’s terrific idea of giving prisoners the vote.
    So, lots of respect for Don, he will be sadly missed as our representative in Bath. It is a difficult time for a new candidate to take over though. The stigma of us getting into bed with the insufferable Tories may be a problem.

  • The Labour candidate in Bath is 18 years old. It made the national press. Can we find a young hopeful too? It is a university city, so we really need to tap into the student vote.

  • Alisdair McGregor 9th Jan '14 - 12:18am

    @Joe King: Labour are on 6.9% in the constituency. It’s the Tories you have to fight against.

  • Alisdair, I have a friend who lives in Bath. He is a bit of a Tory so he enjoys winding me up about as he calls it ‘Lib fibs’. He is referring to ‘no more broken promises’. I know that Don Foster is a good man, but I am concerned that it is his personal charisma that has kept him elected. On the other hand, luckily the Conservative candidate for Bath is a hopeless young man, who is busily going round making mistakes by putting his foot in his mouth. He even managed to make enemies in the rugby club, not a smart move! Also according to my friend the Conservative branch in Bath is virtually moribund, most of the members are elderly, and they hardly go out campaigning at all.
    In the Bath Chronicle:

    We do need to watch out in Bath. The local council is majority our party. However they are busy withdrawing funding for children’s services, which surely is contrary to our election pledges? For example:

  • I had Bath as one of our few holds. Not now.
    Less than 10 now at the next election.
    God help us.

  • peter tyzack 9th Jan '14 - 10:20am

    Caron.. please.! ‘Don is 66 so it’s not surprising he has decided to retire’ pardon? 66 is still young, but as Don has had 30+ years in politics, (which has doubtless had an impact on his health).. THAT is why it is not surprising.. time for the man to relax and have some time to himself without the pressures of being constantly in the public eye.
    When I stopped being a councillor, I suddenly felt years younger, as the stress fell away. It must be ten times as bad as an MP with all the armchair critics and the press trying to tear you apart..

  • Michael Parsons 9th Jan '14 - 11:14am

    Joe King

    And a little child shall lead them?

  • peter tyzack 9th Jan ’14 – 10:20am
    … Don has had 30+ years in politics, (which has doubtless had an impact on his health).. THAT is why it is not surprising.. time for the man to relax and have some time to himself without the pressures of being constantly in the public eye.

    I laughed a lot when I read this and how much I agree with it. Peter is quite right!
    Think on , all you youngsters in LDV who think everyone should work until they drop ,!!!
    ( sorry that should read – the 80 per cent of responders to the LDV survey who said that the old age pension should not be handed over until you are 69 ).

  • theakes 9th Jan ’14 – 10:08am wrote:
    ‘I had Bath as one of our few holds. Not now.
    Less than 10 now at the next election.’

    Where are you getting the info that there will be less than 10 holds? Could you please post a link or describe your calculation method? Thanks.

  • Don will be a sad loss to the parliamentary party. A wonderful Lib Dem and an example to us all. Whoever is chosen to follow on from him will have a tough act to follow. I wish him all the best.

  • Helen Dudden 12th Jan '14 - 9:37am

    This week, I speak on the subject of the “Contact Centres” and I was pleased to see you have acknowledged the issues. This will be to ask for the funding , not to be removed for the future.

    I have written on the subject of relationship breakdowns and the problems involved.

    Someone, somewhere, has to except responsibility, these centres are in place for a reason, to help those who need helping.

    I also, will be commenting on the additions to the Brussels 11a in the future, very shortly. Within the EU and I am more than happy, to be part of that too. All children, have the right to have access to both parents, if the law agrees.

  • Steve Comer 12th Jan '14 - 6:19pm

    Don may be standing down as an MP, but I doubt he’ll be leaving politics! He’s been a great MP for Bath, and was an effective Liberal Leader of Avon County Council for many years before that.
    Why the sensitivity about Don’s age? Can’t the guy retire when he wants to? If Don stood in 2015 he’d be 72 at the end of that Parliament. I know retirement age is going up, but do we all have to subscribe to the ‘work till you drop’ mentality?

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