Dame Joan said:
“After 25 years in Parliament I think it’s time for the constituency party to have a new candidate. It has been an enormous privilege to be a Member of Parliament and a Minister and a joy to serve my diverse and dynamic constituency.
“It will of course be business as usual for the next two years – not least in the battle to save Lewisham Hospital’s A&E and maternity services.“
On Tuesday Joan obtained an Urgent Question forcing the Secretary of State for Health to answer questions about the proposed closures at Lewisham Hospital. On Wednesday she further pressed the Prime Minister on the issue and he confirmed that there should be no closures or reorganisations if criteria were not met. On Monday she and other colleagues will be meeting the Secretary Of State.
Joe Perry, Chair of Lewisham Deptford Constituency Labour Party said:
"Joan's contribution in Lewisham, the Labour Party and Parliament over the last 25 years has been immense. She has been a dedicated campaigner for her constituents and has vigorously fought for the rights of the downtrodden and oppressed. Her tireless campaigning on women's rights and the environment have helped shape policy internationally."
Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Opposition said:
“Joan Ruddock has been a fantastic MP for Lewisham Deptford. Parliament will really miss her wise words, her formidable campaigning skills and her huge knowledge across a wide range of areas, especially equality issues.
“Joan has been a passionate advocate for the Labour Party over many years and I know she will continue to care deeply about the people of Lewisham Deptford.
“I personally will miss Joan’s good humour and friendship from the Labour benches.”