Cynon Valley MP Ann Clwyd to stand down at election

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Media captionAnn Clwyd revealed her decision at the monthly meeting of the Cynon Valley Labour Party

Veteran MP Ann Clwyd has announced that she is to stand down at the 2015 general election.

The 76-year-old Labour politician has represented the Cynon Valley since winning a by-election in 1984.

She revealed her decision at the monthly meeting of the Cynon Valley Labour Party on Friday, after informing party leader Ed Miliband.

But Ms Clwyd said she would still campaign and called it "not her swansong", but a "pause for breath".

In a statement, she said by the next general election she would have been an elected politician for 36 years.

"It is a long time but I feel very privileged to have had a job I enjoyed so much," she said.

Broke down

Most recently the MP led a government-commissioned inquiry on how NHS hospitals handle complaints.

The review, published last October, said the culture of delay and denial over NHS complaints in England must come to an end.

Ms Clwyd was asked to lead it after she broke down in a BBC interview in December 2012 while describing the poor care her late husband had received.

She said her husband Owen Roberts died "like a battery hen" at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff in October 2012.

She had previously tackled David Cameron at Prime Minister's Questions in the Commons about how he would respond to complaints about nurses who failed to show care and compassion to patients.

'Backing me'

In her statement she said: "I still have a lot of energy left to fight for a better health service for the people of Wales over the next year and to ensure that the system improves throughout the UK.

"The letters and emails keep coming so I will still be shouting long and hard on their behalf.

"I hope my late husband Owen Roberts can hear me - I know he would be backing me all the way, as he always did."

A former journalist, she was a lone Welsh female MP for a long time in a career which began when she was elected MEP for Mid and West Wales in 1979.

In 1994 she went underground to stage a sit-in protest against the closure of Tower Colliery at Hirwaun.

Ms Clwyd said: "I am particularly proud to have been elected in the constituency of Keir Hardie, and the first woman to be elected in an industrial seat in Wales.

"The miners who always gave me their backing I hope would not be disappointed."

A long-time campaigner for Kurds in Iraq, she served as special envoy to the Middle Eastern country under former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair.

"I will continue to speak out on domestic and international affairs, especially on human rights," she said.

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