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York Central MP Hugh Bayley

York Central MP Hugh Bayley

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TRIBUTEs have been made to a long standing York MP after he announced he is stepping down.

Labour’s Hugh Bayley will not stand in the 2015 General Election after more than 22 years as an MP.

The York Central MP said he had decided now was “a good time to pass on the baton”

Last night the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu lead tributes, saying he was impressed from the start by Mr Bayley’s “sense of social justice.”

He added: “This has been at the heart of his political life, caring for the poor and the marginalised. Hugh strongly believes every person should flourish and enjoy the benefits of a liberal democracy.

“He has been tireless in putting forward concerns of York Central and those of his constituents to all powers that be; and has never been a partisan politician. He will be missed as a voice of reason, compassion and magnanimity.”

The MP served as Deputy Speaker in 2010 annd was , Minister for Social Security and War Pensions in Tony Blair’s government.

He went on to chair the Westminster Foundation for Democracy and the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank and IMF.

Mr Bayley said: “It has been a tremendous privilege to represent York in Parliament for 22 years, which is much longer than I expected when I was first elected in 1992.

“There is never a good time to stand down. I didn’t want to announce my departure while doing the NATO job because I was pushing NATO to publish its accounts and audit reports, which they have now agreed, but they might have avoided the decision if they’d thought I was about to go. But it is now agreed and I think it is time to pass the baton to someone else.

“My family have been tremendously supportive, and very tolerant about me working long hours, often seven days a week, but now I want to put them first.

“It’s too early to start thanking all the many people who have supported me over the years.

“And, of course, I’ll be working closely with Labour’s candidate for York Central to win the election in May.”

Party leader Ed Miliband said: “Parliament will miss his integrity and will be the weaker for the loss of his expertise on international development and international relations.”

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