It has been an honour and a privilege to represent the people of North Durham in Parliament since 2001. It has been a difficult decision to take to decide that I will not be a candidate at the forthcoming General Election.

In early June I will be undergoing surgery and treatment for an ongoing condition, which would make it impossible for me to fight the campaign that I and my constituents would expect me to do so.

I know from being a Minister in the last Labour Government the difference a Labour Government will make to our country. Under Keir Starmer’s leadership we are now in a position to once again provide a genuine alternative to the destructive and negative Conservative Government we have had for the last 14 years. Our main aim now is to get that Labour Government elected, which this country desperately needs.

Over the last 23 years, I have had the privilege of meeting and helping thousands of constituents in North Durham and I am proud of the constituency’s continuing strong sense of community and vibrant voluntary sector. I hope that my efforts as your Member of Parliament have helped to support this.

Since first being elected, I have championed the cause of the defence and security of our nation, and particularly the efforts of those who served to keep us safe. It has been a privilege to have been a Defence Minister, member of the Defence Select Committee, Intelligence and Security Committee, a Vice President of NATO Parliamentary Assembly, and a Commonwealth War Graves Commissioner.

Over the years, I have taken up and championed many individual cases for constituents but also campaigned on broader issues including the plight of miners’ compensation and for a number of years on the justice for sub-postmasters campaign. It is satisfying that those who have suffered for far too long in the case of the Post Office Horizon scandal are now being heard and injustice has been recognised. I hope that my efforts on their behalf helped contribute in some small way to this outcome.

I am sad to be leaving the House of Commons but would like to thank the people of North Durham and my supporters who gave me the opportunity to serve them.

Rt Hon Kevan Jones

Member of Parliament for North Durham