Leading Labour figures have praised Sheffield MP David Blunkett after he revealed he would be standing down next year.
Party leader and Doncaster MP Ed Miliband thanked him on behalf of the party for his 45 years of public service as a Sheffield councillor, leader of Sheffield Council, MP and cabinet minister.
Hillsborough and Brightside MP Mr Blunkett was the former Home Secretary, as well as holding posts in Work and Pensions, Education and Employment.
Mr Miliband added: “David Blunkett is a man whose commitment and determination have carried him to the highest positions in politics with one purpose, to serve the people of our country.
“He will be hugely missed.
“He was an outstanding Education and Employment Secretary improving standards across the country. He reformed primary school education which led to a significant increase in literacy and numeracy and was responsible for the introduction of Sure Start, one of the last Labour Government’s greatest public service achievements, breaking down barriers to opportunity all over the country.
“He introduced the New Deal and helped a million extra people into work.
“And as Home Secretary he oversaw a fall in crime and drove radical reform to rebalance the criminal justice system in favour of the victim. He served with distinction following the shocking events of 9/11.
“He has been a friend to me during my time as Leader. I have valued and counted on his advice and wisdom.
“Every Labour leader under whom he served would have said the same. He is Labour through and through.
“David can take great pride in all he has done to improve the lives of people in this country. He has been an amazing asset to the Labour Party and to Britain and I know he will continue to serve the country and the Labour Party with great distinction.”
In Sheffield local constituency party secretary, and Sheffield councillor Sioned-Mair Richards, said: “Working with David has been great. I’m really disappointed that he’s standing down.
“We all wanted him to stay on. He’ll be almost impossible to replace.
“We now have a huge challenge ahead to find someone with the right values, the right vision and a real connection with and commitment to representing local people.”
CLP chairman Simon Newsum added: ““David has given great service to the people of Brightside & Hillsborough for over forty years – as a councillor, as council leader and then as our MP,
“I know he is very highly thought of by the people he has represented.
“Over the years many people have said to me, ‘I don’t always agree with his politics, but he is a brilliant local MP for our part of Sheffield.’ He’s always stood up for us.
“I think this is great testament to his work and commitment to our area.”