COVENTRY North West MP Geoffrey Robinson has announced he is to step down after 43 years of service.
Mr Robinson, aged 81, says he will not stand for re-election at the next general election due to ‘ill health’.
The Labour Party veteran – who was first elected in 1976 – underwent surgery for a heart operation last December, he said.
In a letter to his constituents posted on his Twitter account, he said: “I’m writing to you personally to inform you that sadly due to ill health, I have decided not to stand for re-election, and therefore I will not be seeking the Labour Party nomination to become a parliamentary candidate for Coventry North West.
“I have had the honour of serving as the Member of Parliament for Coventry North West since winning the by-election in March 1976.
“Every day has been a privilege and a pleasure but it can’t go on forever and the electoral cycle means that each incumbent has to think again about what’s best for them, the constituency and the party.
“There is nothing more important or rewarding than helping people however I need to be fully fit to be able to be able to undertake the job properly.
“The last few months have been a challenge and I would like to thank everyone for sending me so many kind messages and good wishes during that time.
“It’s important now, that the powers that be in Labour HQ allow local party members the time and opportunity to select a local candidate.
“I have spoken to numerous people to try to ensure that they understand the depth of feeling that a local candidate should be chosen to succeed me.
“Representing the people of Coventry North West have been the proudest years of my life and I will do all I can in my time remaining as an MP to champion my constituents and the city that means so much to me, as I have been proud to do for the last 43 years.
“I wish the party and more importantly the people of Coventry North West nothing but the best for the future.”
The former chairman of Jaguar and Coventry City Football Club was close to former prime minister Tony Blair, who made him Paymaster General in the cabinet after Labour’s 1997 landslide election victory.