Labour's Frank Dobson to quit as MP

Frank Dobson Frank Dobson has been an MP since 1979

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Veteran Labour MP Frank Dobson has confirmed he will stand down at the general election next year.

Mr Dobson has represented Holborn and St Pancras in London since 1979.

The former cabinet minister said he had "decided to pack in when people are stopping me in the street to say they hope I am not going."

Labour leader Ed Miliband thanked Mr Dobson, describing him as "one of parliament's finest" and saying he "will be sorely missed".

'Better place'

Mr Dobson was made health secretary when Tony Blair swept to power in 1997.

He then stood as Labour's candidate to be the first mayor of London in 2000 and returned to the backbenches after finishing third in the race.

From there, he spoke out against a number of Labour's policies, including the Iraq War and top-up fees for students.

Mr Dobson said in a statement: "It has been an honour to represent the people of Holborn and St Pancras for all these years and to have made at least some contribution to making it a better place to live."

Wise words

Mr Miliband said: "Throughout his 35 years in parliament he has fought for many causes, most notably our NHS, including his time as Labour's first health secretary for 18 years, but he has always put the people of Holborn and St Pancras first.

"I will miss his friendship, his wise words and his sense of humour. "We wish Frank the very best. "

Labour MPs also paid tribute to Mr Dobson, who secured a majority of almost 10,000 at the last general election.

Shadow Northern Ireland secretary Ivan Lewis tweeted: "Frank Dobson falls into category 'they don't make them like that anymore'.

And David Lammy described him as a "great guy and tireless campaigner".

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    06:14: Good morning

    Hello and welcome to the BBC's Live Page coverage for Friday 27 February. The business in the Commons today is almost entirely focused on the official reading of legislation - but don't think that means it'll be a quiet day in the political world. We're coming in to spring conference season: UKIP's kicks off in Margate today, and the Lib Dems gather in Cardiff for the last meeting of party activists before the general election. Labour leader Ed Miliband will set out his party's plans to cut tuition fees to £6,000 if it is elected. Chancellor George Osborne will be in Manchester to talk devolution of NHS services but is also likely to face questions about a report from MPs that says his claim last year to have halved the UK's £1.7bn EU budget surcharge is "not supported by the facts". We'll bring you all the latest news, views and analysis during the day - from the BBC and beyond.

     

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