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.
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"
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.
"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.”