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Hazel Blears steps down, how will she be remembered?

She built a reputation as an MP who would fight her and her constituents' corner.

In announcing her resignation, Hazel Blears came out fighting too - saying her legacy would not be her role in the expenses scandal of 2009.

Ms Blears is stepping down after 18 years as MP for Salford.

And in her only interview since that announcement she told our political reporter Daniel Hewitt what she wanted to be remembered for:

Not everyone will miss Hazel Blears as she steps down

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Hazel Blears retiring at next election. Don't think we will miss her, supported Iraq war, prevent, snooping and those dodgy expenses.

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If Labour had any moral spine it would have kicked Hazel Blears out of government & the party in 2009. She’s no loss to public life.

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Hazel Blears steps down with 'heavy heart'

Hazel Blears Credit: PA

Labour's former minister Hazel Blears is to stand down as an MP at next year's general election.

Ms Blears entered Parliament as MP for Salford in 1997, served as a minister in the Department of Health and Home Office and as chair of the Labour Party under Tony Blair between 2001 and 2007, before joining Gordon Brown's cabinet as communities and local government secretary from 2007 to 2009.

She resigned from the government on the eve of crucial European and local elections in 2009 in what was seen at the time as an indication of Blairite discontent with Mr Brown's leadership, and went on to win the Salford and Eccles constituency in 2010 after boundaries were redrawn.

In a statement after informing her local constituency party, Ms Blears said she had taken the decision to stand down after 18 years in Parliament with "a heavy heart".

She said she wants to spend more time with her family, including her mother Dorothy, who has dementia, her father Arthur, who is his wife's main carer, and her husband Michael.

Labour leader Ed Miliband paid tribute on Twitter: "Hazel Blears has been a brilliant MP. Always fighting for those in most need. Parliament will miss her."

"I have been driven throughout my time as MP by a desire to improve people's lives and ensure that Salford gets its fair share of resources and investment," said Ms Blears.

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Labour politicians react to news Hazel Blears will stand down

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I'm sorry to learn that my Labour colleague and friend Hazel Blears MP will not stand for Parliament in 2015 http://t.co/6LX1n6iKW3

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Very sorry to hear my colleague Hazel Blears is stepping down. Salford to her core, she always fought hard for the area

Blears: A 'huge privilege' to represent the place I was born

In a statement about her decision to stand down, Hazel Blears said:

“It is a huge privilege to represent the place where I was born, brought up and have lived all my life, so I have taken this decision with a heavy heart.

“I have been driven throughout my time as MP by a desire to improve people’s lives and ensure that Salford gets its fair share of resources and investment.

“No one person has a magic wand with which to do this, but I have worked hard alongside some fantastic leaders, organisations and residents and I feel that together we have really made a difference. [...]

“I would like to thank everyone who has supported me over the years"

– Hazel Blears MP

Hazel Blears steps down with 'a heavy heart'

Salford and Eccles Labour MP Hazel Blears has announced she is to stand down at the next General Election.

In a statement she said she is stepping down after what will have been 18 years in the role with ‘a heavy heart’.

Mrs Blears said she wants to spend more time with her family, including her mum Dorothy, who has dementia, her dad Arthur, who is his wife’s main carer, and her husband Michael.

She informed her local constituency Labour Party of her decision at its monthly meeting this evening.

Blunkett: Salford MP has been a 'dynamic force for change'

Hazel Blears MP
Hazel Blears MP, Labour, Salford & Eccles Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Commenting on Hazel Blears decision to stand down as MP for Salford and Eccles at the next General Election, former Home Secretary Rt Hon David Blunkett MP said: “Hazel Blears has been a dynamic force for progressive change throughout her time in Parliament.

"As Police Minister working with me in the Home Office (including on counter terrorism) and then as Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, she drove through important changes including the empowering of people in their own neighbourhood.

Hazel Blears MP
Hazel Blears MP, Salford & Eccles Credit: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire/Press Association Images

"In Parliament she has played a critical role on the Intelligence and Security Committee and as a constructive and very impressive critic of the present Coalition. I know she will be sorely missed by both her constituents and colleagues in Parliament.

“We need more Hazel Blears speaking their mind in the political arena and more people prepared to take on vested interests and provide a voice for those without power and influence. I know that she has an enormous contribution to make in public life in years to come and I wish her well.”

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