Batley and Spen Labour MP Mike Wood is to retire at the next general election in May, 2015.

The 67-year-old MP said his decision would allow “a new, younger candidate” to carry on his work. But he insisted he would not be winding down, and would carry out his work as an MP until the elections are held.

He said: “It was a difficult decision but I think it is the right one and it will allow the Labour party to find a new, younger candidate to carry on the work here. I want to be absolutely clear that I am standing down not winding down.”

Mr Wood has been MP for Batley and Spen since 1997 and has become known as one of Labour’s more rebellious backbenchers. The constituency Labour party will now begin the process of selecting a new candidate to fight the next election.