A WEST Yorkshire Labour MP is to quit at the next General Election – and has taken a sideswipe at the government's handling of the economy.
Colin Burgon wrote to party colleagues saying he would stand down from his Elmet seat, which covers a large area on the outskirts of Leeds stretching from Wetherby across to Garforth.
Former teacher Mr Burgon, 61, who won the seat from the Tories in Labour's 1997 General Election landslide victory, was a party agent in the 1983 poll.
He he told the YEP he felt it was the right time to step down so he could devote more time to other interests, including walking and study.
In his letter Mr Burgon takes a swipe at the "New Labour approach to the market economy".
He says: "Within the Labour Party I am one of those who takes the view that Labour has to make radical policy changes in the context of the world-wide economic crisis we face.
"The 'New Labour' approach to the market economy is both wrong and lacks the kind of values that have served this party so well in the difficult times in our history."
He says that his success in winning the seat and retaining it in 2001 and 2005 could not have been achieved without the support of party members and trades unions, including the shopworkers union Usdaw and his own union, the GMB.
He adds: "Those who take the unions for granted, or would wish to break the link (between Labour and the unions], have no understanding of political history or present day realities.
"I am always conscious that it is a team effort that has brought us success here in Elmet and we should never lose sight of that fact in the years ahead.
"We face a difficult task in the years ahead as we build a new Elmet and Rothwell constituency.
"I believe we need a candidate who will stay the course, who lives locally and who has a proven track record of committed work on behalf of the party in our area over the years.
"With that kind of candidate and a change in approach at national level, I take the view that Elmet and Rothwell can be a Labour seat."
Mr Burgon, who was born in Gipton and taught at the former Foxwood High School, told the YEP: "Leeds hasn't had that many MPs that were born in the city and I feel proud and privileged to have had the chance to represent Leeds people in the House of Commons."