Thursday, 11 September 2008

Bye Bye Betty

Betty Williams is standing down as MP for Aberconwy (currently Conwy) at the next election. An MP since 1997, she says that at the age of 64 she wants to re-balance her workload.

Lest anyone doubt her loyalty to Gordon Brown, Mrs Williams says in a statement: "There is no one I would trust more to lead us through difficult times. I have no respect for those, particularly former Ministers, who criticise without constructive proposals."

I presume that's a reference to Charles Clarke. Sadly, you won't be able to hear her expand on her reasons today as she is on "parliamentary business" in Paris.

Mrs Williams has been an assiduous constituency MP and in later years hasn't been afraid to vote against her Government on issues such as Iraq and nuclear weapons.

Despite her past role as a freelance media researcher, she was never one of those MPs banging on the studio door demanding airtime.

Indeed, I shall treasure some of the reasons she gave for her reluctance to go on air. "Mrs Williams doesn't do interviews before nine in the morning" was her office's response to one breakfast radio bid.

We didn't have much luck later in the day: "Mrs Williams is singing Elijah in the Abbey tonight".

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