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Region's minister to step down as MP

PUBLISHED: 07:00 02 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:23 06 July 2010

Barbara Follett

Barbara Follett

Barbara Follett, the Minister for the East of England, has announced she is to stand down as an MP at the next election.

Mrs Follett, who has been the Minister for the East of England since 2007, revealed yesterday that she will not stand again for her parliamentary seat of Stevenage.

Barbara Follett, the Minister for the East of England, has announced she is to stand down as an MP at the next election.

Mrs Follett, who has been the Minister for the East of England since 2007, revealed yesterday that she will not stand again for her parliamentary seat of Stevenage.

She has previously held posts as parliamentary private secretary to Tessa Jowell as minister for women and as minister for culture, creative industries and tourism.

Just last month, she was moved to a junior ministerial role at the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) after the return to office of Margaret Hodge, who resumes the position of tourism minister following compassionate leave.

Mrs Follett, 66, said yesterday: “It was in early September when I told the Prime Minister that I would not be standing.

“We spoke for half an hour and I made it clear he always has and always will have my full support. I admire and respect him.

“The decision came after much thought and great sadness. I am a political animal to the core and I did hope to stand once again.

Mrs Follett, who is married to best-selling author Ken Follett, hit the headlines earlier this year during the scandal over MPs expenses.

It emerged she had claimed £24,000 for private security guards to keep watch on her home in London after she was mugged and followed by a stalker.

As regional minister, she acts as champion for the East of England, made up of six counties including Norfolk, and ensures the unique interests of the region are heard in central Government.

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