'Time is right to retire' for Sir Tony Cunningham

Sir Tony has had a long career in politics as a councillor, MEP, MP and government whip Photo: John Stillwell/PA Archive/Press Association Images

When I spoke to Sir Tony Cunningham on the phone yesterday morning, it was immediately obvious why he's chosen to stand down.

His is one of the longest commutes to Westminster of any English MP, and he sounded tired and weary of the constant travel.

He'd missed several Westminster parties the night before to come home early to his family and break the news of his retirement to local party members.

At the next election, Sir Tony will be 62. After a long career in politics as a councillor, MEP, MP and government whip, he told me "the time just feels right to go."

He served as a whip under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, but in recent months has played a quieter role in parliament, and says he's particularly keen to spend time with his young son.

Workington is a rock solid Labour seat - Sir Tony inherited a majority of over 10,000. While that's narrowed in recent elections, it is still a safe bet for 2015.

There will be many in Labour eyeing it up as the party now searches for a new candidate.