RUTH Kelly is standing down as Bolton West MP at the next General Election in order to spend more time with her family.

The announcement comes a week after she revealed at the Labour Party conference that she plans to quit as Transport Secretary.

At the time, Ms Kelly refused to be drawn on whether she would stand again for her seat.

But at a meeting of the local Labour Party last night, the 40-year-old revealed she will be standing down.

She will serve until the next General Election and step down after more than 11 years as Bolton West MP.

The mother-of-four told delegates at the Labour Party Conference that she was leaving the cabinet to spend more time with her family.

The decision to leave her position as MP is also for family reasons.

She said: “I’ve taken the area to my heart and will leave with a touch of sadness and fond memories, although I’m sure the decision I have taken is right for myself and my family.

“It’s been an honour and privilege to serve Bolton West since I was first elected in May, 1997.

“I want to say thank you to the people of Blackrod, Horwich, Westhoughton and the rest of west Bolton for all the tremendous warmth and support I’ve been shown during the past 11-and-a-half years.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed serving the people of my constituency and intend to continue to keep working diligently for them until the next General Election.”

It is unclear what Ms Kelly’s plans are for the future but is expected to take time out after the next General Election before deciding what to do next.

She has said she will campaign to ensure a Labour candidate wins the seat.

Ms Kelly said: “I look forward to campaigning actively for Labour and firmly believe that we can win Bolton West at the next General Election.

“Only a Labour Bolton West MP working with a Labour Government will build in the years to come on the solid foundations we’ve already laid. Of course, many challenges remain but I’m confident that Labour under the strong leadership of Gordon Brown is well placed to help hard working families through these difficult times.”

Cllr Cliff Morris, chairman of Bolton West Constituency Labour Party, said: “I’ve known Ruth from the start of her time as a Bolton West MP and it’s been a pleasure to work with her.

“I’d like to thank her for all the hard work and effort she’s made for the people of her constituency during the past 11 years.”

Tell Us: How do you think Ruth Kelly has performed as an MP for Bolton West?

Post your views on our Forum HERE or by email to the Letters Editor HERE