Leeds MP to step down

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Leeds political stalwart George Mudie is set to bring the curtain down on his long and distinguished career of public service.

Mr Mudie, who has been Labour MP for Leeds East since 1992, has announced that he will not be standing at the next general election.

The 68-year-old former leader of Leeds City Council broke the news to a constituency meeting last night.

Today he told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “At the next election I will be 70.

“If I went in, it would be a five-year term and I would finish at 75. With all respect to my constituents, I think they need a younger person with more energy.”

Looking back on his time in politics, Mr Mudie said: “It’s been an honour to represent the people of east Leeds, both as a councillor and as an MP. It’s been an absolute pleasure working with my constituents. I also have a tremendous constituency office with remarkable staff.”

Asked about his plans after he steps down in 2015, he joked: “My wife says that as long as I’m out of the house at nine and not back until six, she doesn’t care what I do in between!

“Seriously, though, it’s too early to say exactly what the future holds.”

Brought up on a Dundee council estate, Mr Mudie moved to Leeds in 1968 as an official with the NUPE union. He was first elected as a Labour councillor for Seacroft in 1971 before serving as leader of the council between 1980 and 1990.

Mr Mudie’s time in Parliament included a spell as Minister for Lifelong Learning.

He was, however, not known as a paid-up New Labour Blairite and was one of the leaders of a party rebellion against university top-up fees in 2004.

And, as recently as this summer, he was warning that Labour appeared “hesitant” and “confused” because of its failure to set out a clear agenda.

Tributes to Mr Mudie’s achievements were led today by Colin Burgon, Labour MP for Elmet between 1997 and 2010.

He told the YEP: “George will be hugely missed. He has been a giant at Leeds City Council, in Parliament and in the Labour Party.

“Whenever we were out campaigning together, you could sense the enormous respect people had for him. Nothing was too much trouble for George.”