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By Matthew Bates Friday 07 December 2012 Updated: 11/12 10:11
BOB AINSWORTH has announced he will stand down as an MP at the next General Election.
The Coventry North East MP of over 20 years confirmed the news today and said it had been an enormous privilege to represent the city.
Mr Ainsworth held many positions within the Labour government up to 2010, becoming secretary of state for defence in 2009.
He was born and raised in Coventry and said he would continue to work hard for his constituents, speaking to students at schools and universities, and supporting local environment groups.
“We are now past the half way point in this Parliament and I believe it is time to let my local party know my decision to allow them to look for a new candidate," he said.
"I wish them well and promise to help whoever they choose in any way that I can.
“I will continue to work for my constituents and represent them to the best of my ability for the remainder of this Parliament.
Mr Ainsworth grew up in a Wood End council estate in Coventry and went to Foxford School but left at 15.
He worked at Jaguar for 20 years where he became involved in the Union and then the Labour Party.
He became a senior shop steward and Union Branch President before going on to be a councillor and then deputy leader of Coventry City Council.
He was elected to Parliament in 1992, became a Whip in 1995 and was made a minister in 2001 - first for aviation and then with responsibility for drugs and organised crime.
He became shadow defence secretary when Labour lost in 2010, but stood down from the front bench five months later.
Mr Ainsworth currently serves on the Foreign Affairs Select Committee and recently chaired the Joint Committee on the Draft Enhanced Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Bill.
He added: “I am particularly proud to have represented our Armed Forces in government and to have produced the “Service Personnel Command Paper” that raised the level of compensation for those injured on operations.
"I am also proud of the many equipment improvements we introduced, including Vallon mine detection, increasing the number of armoured vehicles and introducing the Warthog protected patrol vehicle.”
And he said among his achievements locally were leading campaigns for a new hospital and the redevelopment of the contaminated old gas works, now the site of the Ricoh Arena. He also secured £50million New Deal money for Wood End, Henley Green and Manor Farm.
Mr Ainsworth is married to Gloria. They have two daughters and three grandchildren.
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