JAMES Grundy has announced that he will not stand as a candidate in the upcoming General Election.

Following the surprise announcement from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak that a General Election will be held on Thursday, July 4, Conservative MP James Grundy has announced that he will step down from his role and will not contest the Parliamentary seat.

Mr Grundy thanked his constituents for their support and said he is proud to have delivered on promises to voters, including stopping the Golborne Spur of HS2, halting the Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone, and helping to bring a potential new railway station to Golborne.

Jo Platt, who lost the seat in the 2019 election, is the election candidate for Labour.

READ > 'He was completely fit and well' - Man dies after routine check-up at hospital

Full statement from James Grundy MP:

"When I stood in the General Election in 2019, I never dared hope that I would be elected to serve as MP for my home town of Leigh, but the public had other plans and overturned the largest Labour majority in the country to send me to Westminster to ‘Get Brexit Done’. 

"I am very proud to say that I delivered on that promise to my constituents despite the immense challenges we faced in doing so. I am also immensely proud of other achievements such as the £20 million expansion to Leigh Infirmary, stopping the hated Golborne Spur of HS2 smashing through the middle of Lowton, as well as stopping the insane, job destroying Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone.

"Leigh will also be getting £20 million from the Future Towns fund and £11.5 million from the Levelling Up fund to regenerate our town centre after years of neglect, not to mention the £13 million Wigan and Leigh College received as part of the successful bid to become part of the new Greater Manchester Institute of Technology and the £1 million to regenerate Tyldesley town centre via the superb community led Heritage Action Zone.

"We are also on the verge of receiving final approval to reopen Golborne Station, a project I have worked to deliver on a cross party basis with Mayor Andy Burnham, and after 60 years we are making progress on a £53 million proposal to complete the Atherleigh Way bypass, after years of inaction.

"Finally I raised the issue closest to the heart of the people of Leigh in Parliament, that of ‘Lexit’ or an independent Leigh Council which I am pleased to say that at my last meeting with Micheal Gove was being considered for inclusion in the Conservative Party manifesto as part of a broader range of local government reforms. Here’s hoping it makes it in there!

"I am immensely proud both of all that I have achieved and the things I have set in motion for the future of our community, but the only reason I was able to do any of these things was because I had the support of local people in fighting for them.

"I was honoured to become both the first ever Conservative MP for the Leigh constituency and also the last MP for the Leigh constituency given the seat will now be abolished and replaced with the new Leigh and Atherton seat. On that note I would like to thank everyone who backed my ‘Keep Leigh In Leigh’ campaign to ensure that Westleigh retained its rightful place as part of Leigh and did not become part of a Wigan based constituency, in particular the ever-energetic local champion Trevor Barton.

"I have decided, however, not to contest the new Leigh and Atherton constituency at the unexpectedly announced General Election to take place in July. Normally when an MP says they have served under 3 Prime Ministers, dealt with a world spanning plague for the first time in a century, have to deal with the consequences of the first major war in Europe for nearly 80 years and seen the death of the nations’ longest serving monarch they would be a Parliamentary veteran of nearly 30 years’ service.

"It is fair to say that the last few years have perhaps been the most challenging Parliament since the one that sat during World War 2.

"There has also been a saddening change in the political climate where increasingly politicians, their families and staff are seen as fair game for abuse, threats of violence or even death threats.

"I have spoken before about the death threats aimed at my elderly parents after the Gaza debate, seen a colleague murdered, seen another have his office burned down and others either stepping down or changing constituencies due to harassment and abuse, to give just some examples during this Parliament. This not healthy for our national politics and needs to change, and with that in mind I have decided not to seek re-election.

"This is not to say I haven’t enjoyed my time in office, indeed to serve as an MP is one of the greatest privileges anyone in public service can have and I will never regret my time spent as the MP for the town that gave me the opportunity of a lifetime, the town of Leigh.

"In particular it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to lift the Betfred cup with Leigh Leopards owner Derek Beaumont at Wembley when Leigh won the Cup for the first time in 52 years, an experience I will never forget.  

"I’d like to thank the public for putting their faith in me, local Conservative party members for fighting by my side in what seemed the impossible task of winning the constituency in 2019, and the unsung heroes, my office staff who have dealt with nearly 24,000 cases over the last 4 and a half years.

"They have been absolutely brilliant, especially during the vast amounts of casework we had to deal with during the Covid epidemic, and I cannot thank them enough.

"In the spirit of asking for a healthier national political climate, I will leave you with this photograph of myself and the Mayor of the Borough, Labour Councillor Kevin Anderson of Leigh South and his ward colleague Councillor Charles Rigby, and their lovely other-halves, when I took them on a tour of Parliament before they attended the recent Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.

"Politics does not have to be vicious and mean-spirited, and people can hold strongly differing opinions and still treat each other with decency, respect and even be friends, but the public needs to embrace that ideal, or good people will turn away from going into politics and engaging in public service.

"Thank you again to the people of Leigh, Lowton, Golborne, Astley, Tyldesley and Atherton for giving someone so ordinary as myself the extraordinary opportunity of serving as your MP.

"I wish whoever serves as my successor as local MP the very best of goodwill, whoever that person may be."