Follett: 'I am quitting as Stevenage MP'
BARBARA Follett WILL stand down as MP for Stevenage at the next General Election. Speaking this morning, she revealed speculation in The Daily Telegraph that she was due to quit was correct. She said: 'It was in early September when I told the Prime Minis
BARBARA Follett WILL stand down as MP for Stevenage at the next General Election.
Speaking this morning, she revealed speculation in The Daily Telegraph that she was due to quit was correct.
She said: "It was in early September when I told the Prime Minister 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.
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"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."
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"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."
Mrs Follett won the constituency, which includes Knebworth, Codicote and Datchworth in 1997.
Her current majority is 3,139.
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 she favoured a candidate from the area, she added: "I am not sure which way it will go but I think the party will choose a local candidate."
Mrs Follett has also confirmed both her and her husband, the best-selling author Ken Follett, will not be leaving the area after the election.
Their main residence is in Old Knebworth.
She said: "I certainly plan to stay here and would like to get even more involved with the community.'"
Stevenage Borough Council leader Sharon Taylor has confirmed she will put her name forward as a possible candidate for Labour.