Hughes to leave Europe at next election

Stephen Hughes MEP - photoStephen Hughes, Labour Member of the European Parliament for the North East region has announced today that he will not be standing at the next European elections scheduled for 2014.

Mr. Hughes was first elected to the European Parliament in 1984 representing Durham and Blaydon, then re-elected by the people of that constituency in 1989 and 1994. In 1999 with the introduction of proportional representation for European elections, Mr. Hughes was elected to represent the North East region for Labour.  Hughes went on to be re-elected in 2004 and was the only Labour MEP in the UK to top their regional vote in the 2009 European elections.

Stephen Hughes served as Deputy Leader of the Labour Group in Europe, Chairman of the European Parliament's influential Social Affairs and Employment Committee, Chief Parliamentary negotiator on a number of employment issues involving Co-Decision with the Commission and Member State governments, Spokesperson on Health and Safety issues, and since 2009 has been Vice-President of the Socialist Group in the European Parliament.

Stephen Hughes said;

"It has been an absolute privilege for me to represent the people of the North East in the European Parliament.   I have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the region's hardworking, community-minded people in the face of  massive economic, political and social challenges during that time.  I have worked hard to find ways of supporting communities through the best and worst of times since 1984 by promoting European actions and funding that aided the coalfield communities, shipbuilding and maritime areas and provided much needed investment in infrastructure and training and employment opportunities.

"I have worked tirelessly with other members in Europe to develop a treaty base for public health to address some of the stark inequalities in health existing between regions and communities across the continent.

"I have devoted my political career to promoting the rights of working people here and throughout Europe and believe that by being a positive and constructive force in Europe, this region and our nation has benefitted."

Glenis Willmott, Leader of Labour’s MEPs in the European Parliament said: 

“Stephen has been an extremely loyal hard-working member the European Parliamentary Labour Party. When he retires, future Labour MEPs will miss his experience, knowledge and wisdom, and above all his kindness.

“What many people in the North East may not know is the huge regard his European socialist and social democrat colleagues have held for him over the many years he has served in the European Parliament. He has topped the popularity poll of personal votes when standing for our bureau against huge bloc votes, and he has always been an extremely respected voice in our group discussions.

“Like me, he comes from a trade union background, and he has fought tirelessly and ceaselessly, without fear of anyone on either side of the North Sea, for trade union rights across the EU. I fully understand why after serving the North East for so many years he wants to retire in 2014, but the gap Stephen will leave among his Labour MEP colleagues will be extremely hard to fill.”