Bradford West MP Marsha Singh is to retire from Parliament on medical grounds after he became critically ill and needed internal surgery.
Mr Singh’s retirement as Labour MP comes after an eight-month absence after he became seriously ill last July.
It brings to an end a career spanning decades which has seen Mr Singh win four elections and win 45 per cent of the Bradford West vote in 2010, bucking Labour’s trend nationally.
Mr Singh declined to reveal his illness, but said that he made the decision to retire after taking medical advice. “My main priority is to regain full health or as much of my health as possible,” he said, speaking exclusively to the Telegraph & Argus yesterday.
“I have been increasingly ill over a period of time last year and had a very serious illness and was admitted to hospital. I thought I had overcome that, but obviously that wasn’t the case and I have been back into hospital both in London and here.
“It was maybe wishful thinking on my part but I thought I would recover quickly and get back to work, until eventually with medical advice it became clear that it was going to take a lot longer to recover, if I ever fully do.
“I haven’t ruled out work completely for the future once I get out of the kind of critical stages of my illness. I have come to a very painful conclusion to announce my retirement because I’m in the job to serve my constituents and, if I can’t do that I don’t deserve to be paid for the job. They don’t deserve that and I can’t let them down.
“More than that it is a very serious politicial time at the moment with spending on schools being slashed and health which is going to be privatised.”
Mr Singh, who has been in the Labour Party since 1974 and an MP since 1997, said one of the highlights of his career was bringing a Private Members Bill to increase the amount of cash that older people going into care only be allowed to keep from £8,000 to £16,000.
He said that he believes he is the longest-serving member of Parliament for Bradford West and plans to write his autobiography. “I am not criticising anybody, but I have been very much a Bradford MP rather than a Westminster MP,” he said. “This is my home and where my heart is. I would like to thank the electorate for putting up with me for so long and my constituents for the love and affection they have shown me.”