Adrian Sanders who was Torbay's MP for 18 years between 1997 and 2015, has announced he will not be contesting the election on 8th June and has thanked constituents for their past support.
"I have been genuinely touched and surprised at the enormous number of messages of support and offers of help, both physical and financial, to encourage me to stand for election and win back Torbay from the Conservative Party
"It was the greatest honour and privilege to represent my home town in Parliament for 18 years and I thank the voters for allowing me that opportunity. After 73 years in the hands of Conservative MPs, I got elected with a majority of just 12. Not being a career politician I never expected to serve more than one term.
"In total I won 4 elections, helped change laws, won extra resources, new services and infrastructure for Torbay, and helped thousands of constituents with their problems. In fact, it looks like the Conservative Party had to cheat at the last election to defeat me!
“The Electoral Commission found the Conservative Party guilty of offences at the last election that were so serious they fined the Party the maximum allowable under law, and passed their files to the Metropolitan Police to investigate whether there were any criminal offices.
“Now before all of the individual seat allegations into the Conservative Party's conduct at the last election have concluded Mrs May has put her Party before the country and called an election three years early.
“It had been widely reported that it was my intention, had I been re-elected in 2015, not to contest the election that should take place in 2020.
“The 2015 result changed all that and some of the things I was planning on doing post 2020 I am already engaged with. I have discovered a good work life balance and rediscovered what a weekend is, although I still carry out and enjoy a Councillor surgery on a Saturday morning every few weeks.
"The Tory MPs elected in place of the Liberal Democrats from the South West last time have failed to stand up for their constituents and our region. They have not used their numbers that exceed the Government's current majority to stop the u-tun on promised rail investment, to ensure funding for health and social care meets local need, and for our schools to be adequately funded so that many are not now facing cuts. Instead they were falling over themselves in the division lobby to back budgets that cut taxes for the super-wealthy and not tax corporations that enjoy billions of sales in the UK.
“In just two years under a Conservative majority Government, enthusiastically supported by a Conservative MP from Torbay, it appears in Torbay we are going to lose our magistrates court, Paignton's hospital - that stole my tonsils when I was 10 - The women's ward and other beds at Torbay Hospital, direct rail services linking Torbay with the rest of the country, and we have ended up with fewer bus services covering fewer roads than ever before.
“Torbay needs an MP who will stand up for the people of the bay in Parliament. Not one who votes for cuts and policies at Westminster and then complains about their impact on local people when he visits the bay.
“The Torbay election will be a two-horse race between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives in Torbay as it will be across most of the seats in the South West. Labour, Green and UKIP votes will only help Mrs May increase her majority and hold on power. That can only mean more cuts to the services so many local people rely on.”
A few of my achievements
Won 4 elections in a row.
Longest serving non-Conservative MP in the history of the Parliamentary seat.
Past Party spokesman on Housing, Local Government, Tourism
Deputy Chief Whip – 2006-2015
Following the Literal Democrat case in the 1994 European Election I helped change election law to allow Party logos on ballot papers and prevent doppelganger candidates.
17 years chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Diabetes helping to obtain pen needles on prescription, no rationing of test strips, no blanket driving ban, annual testing rather than demotion or redundancy for emergency services staff diagnosed with diabetes, changes to the Childrens' Bill to ensure no child with diabetes (or other chronic condition) can be excluded on grounds of their medical condition.
I helped change the law in relation to leaseholders’ rights to obtain their own insurance. Had private member’s bills become law to ensure councils provide play equipment for children with disabilities, and to ensure all rented properties have working fire alarms to save lives.
Within the policy making processes of the Liberal Democrats I helped win support for the idea of a Pupil Premium, an additional sum of money for schools based on the number of pupils in receipt of free school meals - a win win policy for an area with low incomes like Torbay. I was delighted to see it included in the Coalition Programme for Government (even though I didn't vote for the Coalition) and the extra millions it gave Torbay's headteachers to help pupils from poorer families catch up.
Helped win a rebate for South West Water customers after years of paying the highest charges in the country.
Lobbied for and won super-fast broadband covering 97% of all business premises by the end of 2014 giving Torbay a competitive advantage ahead of other areas.
Secured Government funding for the A380 South Devon Highway that might still be on the drawing board had it been left in the competition for regional Transport funding rather than being taken direct to Cabinet through the Liberal Democrat Deputy Prime Minister following my appeal.
Enjoying a second term as a Torbay Councillor, after a 30 year gap, having secured 69 per cent of the vote in a five cornered contest in November 2015 – the start of the Liberal Democrat fightback.