Jack Straw to step down as Labour MP for Blackburn

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Media captionJack Straw: "I've decided to hang up my spurs as a member of Parliament"

Jack Straw is to stand down as MP for Blackburn at the next general election.

The former Labour home and foreign secretary, 67, was elected in Blackburn in 1979 and has stood in eight general elections in the constituency.

He said his "love affair" with the town was "not going to end on 7 May 2015, nor is my connection with it."

Labour leader Ed Miliband paid tribute to Mr Straw's "eloquence and wisdom", and former Prime Minister Tony Blair said he was a "true Labour giant".

'Terrible wrench'

Mr Straw said: "Whatever national position I have held, the citizens of this town, and their children, have always been my first priority.

"I am deeply grateful to everyone in the town for the faith which has been placed in me."

But he said he had made the decision to stand down after a great deal of thought and consultation with friends and family.

He added he "couldn't go on forever" and it would be "a terrible wrench" to stand down.

Mr Straw held the positions of home secretary, foreign secretary and leader of the House of Commons under Mr Blair.

Mr Blair said Parliament would "lose one of the most able politicians of my generation" in 2015.

He said: "Jack Straw is a true Labour giant.

"I was lucky enough to have him in Cabinet throughout my time as prime minister, where he put his brilliant mind to work on two of the most challenging briefs: home and foreign affairs.

"Jack's contribution to law and order in Britain and this country's standing in the world is quite simply formidable."

In June 2007, Mr Straw was made justice secretary by Gordon Brown, a position he held until Labour's defeat at the 2010 election.

Mr Miliband said: "Jack Straw will be greatly missed from the House of Commons.

"On behalf of the Labour Party, I want to thank him for his nearly 35 years service as an MP, his achievements in government and his eloquence and wisdom.

"He is Labour through and through, and always displayed this in his words and deeds.

"He will be sorely missed but I know he will continue to serve our country in many different ways."

Mr Straw practised as a criminal barrister before entering the Commons and was an adviser to Labour minister Barbara Castle, his predecessor as Blackburn MP.

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