'My greatest affinity is for the people of Mid Derbyshire': Pauline Latham to stand down as MP
Mid Derbyshire's Conservative MP Pauline Latham has announced she will not be standing for re-election at the next General Election.Mrs Latham has written to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to inform him of her decision, telling him she "thought long and hard about [it] because representing Mid Derbyshire has been the privilege of my political life".Mrs Latham, who turned 75 last month, will have served 15 years as an MP by the time of the next General Election, which is widely expected to be later next year.
She won the newly-created seat in 2010, but says she now wants to dedicate herself to "certain other projects".
The former Mayor of Derby has lived in the constituency for more than 40 years and has served on Derby City Council and Derbyshire County Council.
Mrs Latham said: "My greatest affinity is for the people of Mid Derbyshire.
"Their warmth, friendship and support is something I hold dear.
"I have been immensely privileged to have been able to represent them at Westminster.Mrs Latham said there were many moments and achievements during her time as an MP that she will "treasure and look back on with pride".
Mrs Latham said: "I will remember with great fondness the entire community coming together in 2022 to march in support of Derby County FC during its long and drawn-out administration."Derby's business community has flourished over the last decade.
"I have worked with the largest - Rolls-Royce and Vaillant - down to the smallest, for whom I ensured that Belper will retain in-person banking through a new banking hub."Derby's railway industry, including such world-class companies as Alstom, supported me in my campaign for Derby to be the headquarters of Great British Railways.
"I have supported women in business, the right to work for terminally-ill constituents, and many more local campaigns."
Mrs Latham said that among her roles in Parliament, she has been as a member of the International Development Select Committee, which saw her fly around the world maintaining "the country's reputation for excellence in international aid" by promoting girls' education and eradicating diseases, providing clean water, and stimulating business and enterprise.Mrs Latham added: "I have also supported the Ukrainian people, with whom Derbyshire has a meaningful and historic connection.
"Since 2013, I have spoken regularly in Parliament calling on the UK government to recognise the Holodomor as a genocide.
"There has never been a more pressing moment to do so than now.
"I was honoured to be awarded the Ukrainian Order of Merit, presented by the then Prime Minister, for this campaign.
"But my longest-standing and most impactful project has been to ban child marriage in England and Wales.
"With the government's support, my Private Member's Bill passed all its legislative stages and became law last month.
"I am proud to leave on the statute book a piece of legislation, which represents one of the strongest child marriage protection regimes in the world."
Mrs Latham is looking to be more involved in the Aortic Dissection Charitable Trust, which she set up, following the death in 2018 of her son, Ben, 44, from the condition, which affects at least 2,000 people in the UK each year.
Mrs Latham said: "I will advocate for better diagnosis, care and research into aortic dissection so other families do not have to suffer as mine has, both in my remaining time in Westminster and as a private individual afterwards."But Mrs Latham is not ready to leave Westminster and Mid Derbyshire as MP without trying to find a resolution for Belper Mills, which she says "is an incredibly important project for the community of Belper".
She pledged to work "as hard as ever" for her Mid Derbyshire constituents until the next General Election.As part of her letter to Mr Sunak, Mrs Latham also pays tribute to her husband, Derek, and her children and grandchildren, who she says "have been my greatest source of support".
Mrs Latham added: "I look forward to spending much more time with those closest to me.
"Life can be tough when families are separated each week and I think it is time to put them first. I do know, however, how hard it will be to step away from Parliament and the job I have enjoyed so much for these years."