SIÔN SIMON TO QUIT AS MP - LIBERAL DEMOCRAT RESPONSE

Sion Simon

Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Birmingham Erdington, Cllr Ann Holtom, has welcomed the news that Erdington Labour MP Sion Simon has announced he is quitting his job as a government junior minister and will not stand for re-election to Parliament at the next general election.

Cllr Holtom said: "In his statement announcing he is quitting Parliament, Sion Simon has said that the answers to Birmingham's problems do not lie in Westminster and Whitehall. What a shame then that Mr. Simon has spent so many of his years as our MP in those very places when he could have been in Erdington looking after the interests of his constituents. Mr. Simon has also said that he wants to be the elected mayor of Birmingham - even though that job does not exist - because the city needs a strong voice to stand up to central government. Yes, Birmingham and Erdington need a strong voice to speak on their behalf but this has been Mr. Simon's job since he was first elected an MP here in 2001. What does he think an MP is elected for if not to be a powerful voice for his constituents? On his own admission he has not been doing that job very well. It also seems that Mr. Simon does not believe his own Labour government has been delivering for the people of Birmingham from their power base in Westminster. He is quite right. From LDV Vans to Jaguar Land Rover and now Cadbury's, the government's response to the crisis in manufacturing and its impact on jobs and the local economy has been woeful."

"Sion Simon's retirement comes not a moment too soon. People have been let down by politicians like Mr Simon, and are rightly frustrated.

There will now be an opportunity for the people of Erdington to pick a successor who will stand up for their interests in the constituency and at Westminster. The Liberal Democrats are going into the election with a clear direction and a manifesto that is short, direct and to the point."

"We will introduce fairer taxes by closing loopholes for the richest and introducing a tax on mansions, with tax cuts of £700 for everyone else."

"If your child is at school in Birmingham, we can promise investment to help reduce class sizes, improve discipline and develop one-to-one tuition."

"We would also give you the right to sack your MP. The Liberal Democrats are the only party committed to real change of our political system by flushing out big money and corrupt donors and reducing the number of MPs by 150."

"And we will rebuild the economy in every part of Britain in a way that promotes green technology and creates lasting jobs. We will put an end to casino banking, bring back competition and support local entrepreneurs to make sure Birmingham businesses can find the money they need to grow."

"The coming months are a crucial time for politics and now Mr Simon is quitting the scene I will use that time to focus on delivering real change for Birmingham."

Following Mr. Simon's announcement it was again disclosed in the press that the Labour MP had breached parliamentary rules by renting his "second home" in London from his sister, Ceri Erskine. MPs have been banned from renting property from family since April 2006. But Mr. Simon continued to pay Mrs. Erskine thousands of pounds from public funds after the rule was introduced. He apologised and promised to repay about £20,000.