It’s been a privilege to serve ...

Gordon and Sarah Brown have bowed out with a thank you to the people of Fife.
Gordon and Sarah Brown have bowed out with a thank you to the people of Fife.

End of a lifetime in politics as Gordon Brown stands down

A lifetime in politics comes to an end next week as Gordon Brown formally stands down as MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath.

It has been a tremendous privilege to serve as an elected representative in the county where I grew up

Gordon Brown

The dissolution of Parliament on Monday marks the end of 32 years of service which included the roles of Prime Minister and Chancellor.

Mr Brown spoke of his deep gratitude to the support shown to him and his family over many years.

He said: ‘‘It has been a tremendous privilege to serve as an elected representative in the county where I grew up, went to school, where I have my home and where my children now go to school.

‘‘Fife is my home and always will be. I am not leaving Fife - it is London that I’m leaving. Our family will continue to live in Fife and my young children will continue to go to our local primary and secondary schools.

Mr Brown spoke of the many groups and organisations he had met and represented, and his pride in flying the flag for the Kingdom on his journey to the highest office in the land.

‘‘I have been proud everywhere I have travelled throughout the United Kingdom and beyond that I have been able to talk about what Fife has achieved in providing - long before the rest of the country - top rate services from free nursery education to free bus passes and colour TV licenses for the elderly.

‘‘Indeed it was the experience of Fife’s improvements in services that led me, as Chancellor, to argue for and then introduce comprehensive educational provision for the under-fives and free bus travel and free colour TV licenses for all elderly throughout the whole of the United Kingdom.

‘‘What I saw here also prompted me to introduce the pension credit and child tax credit and led me to advocate the national minimum wage - all designed to lift hard-pressed families out of poverty. Fife, where too many young people were unemployed, also inspired the New Deal

‘‘I believe that here in Fife we are always ready to help each other, to support each other, to come to each other’s aid when there are hard times, making us the strong community that I have counted it a privilege to serve.’’

Mr Brown said he and his wife, Sarah, and children. John and Fraser, would remain in Fife.

‘‘It has been at all times the greatest privilege to serve, to meet so many families on the way and to be taken into your lives and into so many people’s hearts. I hope that you will always count us as friends. I will always be incredibly grateful for the opportunity you have given us to serve Fife.’’

Care to culture

In his final newsletter as MP, Mr Brown rounded up his involvement on a number of local issues and projects.

On housing - there are too many Fife families stuck too long on the Council housing waiting list. I support urgent action to meet the desperate need for housing, starting with Fife Council’s plan to build nearly 1000 new houses and also to build new sheltered housing for the elderly in modern ‘care villages’..

NHS - waiting times are too high and Fife NHS is close to breaking point. I have raised are the urgent needs of many elderly patients trapped in hospital when they need care in the community, including for many, better support to stay in their own homes.

Community and sports provision - it is great to see plans for the new Viewforth school with top-rate community sports facilities, the expansion of artificial pitches at KHS and at Hayfield.

Dalgety Bay radiation - the discovery of high radiation levels led me to call three major parliamentary debates that eventually persuaded the MoD to finance a £10m clean-up which will start this year, to be completed by 2017, one year earlier than previously announced.

Restoring old coal sites - With colleagues I have urged a budget tax change to make it more economical to reinstate St Ninians in Kelty and Muir Dean near Cowdenbeath

Culture and recreation - action to stop over-building in Dalgety Bay and Aberdour; urging the oil giant Shell, who share the Braefoot Bay and Mossmorran sites with Exxon, to reconsider plans to sell off land, originally designated a gas plant safety zone.