South East Wales

Assembly presiding officer to stand down as AM in 2016

Rosemary Butler
Image caption Dame Rosemary Butler has been an AM since the assembly's inception in 1999.

The Welsh Assembly's presiding officer and Newport West AM Dame Rosemary Butler will stand down at the 2016 elections.

The Labour AM told her constituency party on Friday evening that she will not seek re-election.

She was made a Dame in this year's New Year's Honours and has served as a Newport AM since 1999.

She was unanimously elected Presiding Officer in 2011 after serving as Deputy Presiding Officer.

Dame Rosemary said after 40 years in public life, including 24 as a councillor in Newport, the time was right for her to stand down.

She said: "It's surprisingly emotional actually. Even though I knew I wasn't going to be standing in my heart, to make the decision and tell my constituency party, I did feel quite emotional about it.

"But it's absolutely right - right for me, right for the party and right for me to look for new things to do."

Dame Rosemary said she was not sure what the future held for her once she stands down, but said she is looking forward to new challenges.

Her Westminster counter-part, the Newport West MP Paul Flynn responded to her decision on social media, stating: "Rosemary Butler's great work in Caerleon, Newport & Wales will come to an end in 2016.

"Thank you, Rosemary, Heroine of Labour!"

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