St Helens’ long-standing MP Dave Watts has announced he is to stand down at the next election.
Mr Watts has represented the St Helens North constituency since 1997.
The Labour MP will be 64 this year and had been considering for several months whether or not to stand for a fifth term.
He announced his intention to stand down on Monday morning.
Mr Watts said: “After careful consideration I have come to the extremely difficult decision that I should announce my retirement from Parliament.
“I have had the honour to represent the St Helens North constituency since 1997 and before that as a local councillor for the previous 17 years.
“I have always tried to represent my constituents to the best of my ability and I feel that I would struggle to maintain that same level of commitment if I should seek re-election.
“I am very proud to have had the opportunity to help lead the regeneration of our town, and together with my staff, Pauline Lazenbury and Andy Bowden, to have helped thousands of my constituents with their everyday problems over the years.”
“I am especially proud to have played a major role in securing the funding for St Helens College, our schools and hospitals and to have been able to deliver the Blackbrook by-pass after a 50 year wait.
“I am also proud of the role that I played in securing planning permission and government funding for our new Saints stadium. I very much enjoyed helping Eamonn McManus realise his vision for the club.
“I am very grateful for the support of my party, especially my party officers; Alan Cunliffe, Andy Bowden, Keith Roberts, Linda Maloney and Janet Richardson who have always given me their full support over the years.
“I have also enjoyed the support of St Helens Council Chief Executive Carol Hudson, the present council leader Barry Grunewald as well as his predecessor Marie Rimmer, who have always tried their best to help me resolve my constituents concerns.
“I have very much valued the support of Chamber Chief Executive Kath Boullen and other local business leaders as well as the towns’ voluntary and community leaders.”