The Labour & Co-operative Assembly Member for Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney, Huw Lewis, has announced to members of his local Labour Party that he will not seek re-election to the Assembly at May’s election. Mr. Lewis, who serves as the Welsh Government’s Minister for Education and Skills, has represented his home communities since the very first Assembly in 1999.
Speaking from Merthyr Tydfil, Huw Lewis AM said:
“Serving the communities in which I grew up is an incredible privilege and honour, but the time is right for me to move on. I owe the people of Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney an enormous debt of gratitude, not least the party members who work so hard for this area.
“Over the past 17 years Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney has seen a truly remarkable transformation thanks to successive Welsh Labour governments and I am incredibly proud to have been working for our community over that time.
“I’ve been honoured to hold this seat for Welsh Labour and to represent the party in Government, most particularly in my current role as Education & Skills Minister. In many ways it was the job I always wanted to do, and seeing the attainment gap close this year between poorer students and their better off contemporaries is something I am incredibly proud of.
“However, nothing is forever. I became an AM at the age of 35 and I feel now is the time to move on – for me and the constituency. I’m looking forward to seeing more of my family and seeking out fresh challenges.
“I want to thank Carwyn Jones for the opportunity to serve in his Government, in various roles, all of them enjoyable in different ways. It is testament to Carwyn's decency and leadership that he had no issues whatsoever with me being part of his Government team after the leadership contest in 2009, and I have thoroughly enjoyed working with all my cabinet colleagues and fellow AMs. A genuinely new, kinder politics has been around for quite a while in Wales, as it happens.
“Wales, and Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney in particular, needs another Welsh Labour Government. Sometimes fresh blood is what you need to keep the party renewed and fighting fit - I look forward to giving my successor every help and support I can to secure their victory in May."
Commenting on Huw’s announcement, Welsh Labour leader and First Minister Carwyn Jones, said:
“Huw has that rare quality for a modern politician of wearing his heart on his sleeve. He’s always fought hard for the causes he believes in, and he’s done great work to help regenerate and transform his home constituency of Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney.
“His long-standing commitment to the agenda made him the obvious choice for the UK’s first Tackling Poverty Minister. As Education Minister he has overseen record GCSE results in Wales and set in train ambitious proposals for wholesale curriculum reform that will change the way our youngsters learn for decades to come. His passion will be sorely missed in the next Assembly.” -
Former Secretary of State for Wales, Lord Murphy of Torfaen, said:
"I've known Huw a long time and have always admired his abilities. He has been a first class AM and Minister, and it was a pleasure to work with him as Secretary of State. Most of all, what always struck me about Huw was his solid Labour values, his determination to work for social justice and his commitment to our valleys. I'm sure that he will continue to play a big role in our party but we will miss those qualities in the Assembly."