This week Labour’s Angling and Shooting spokesman Martin Salter MP announced his intention to stand down at the next general election, after more than 25 years of public service in Reading.

Mr Salter, who is one of Reading’s longest-serving public representatives, has pledged to remain as a full-time MP until the election and to carry on working for angling and the environment after he stands down.

In a letter to Labour Party members in Reading West, Mr Salter wrote:

“It has been a huge privilege to serve the people of Reading and the Labour Party as both a councillor and a Member of Parliament, but I really do want to move on and do something else with my life while I’ve still got some energy left. I’m very proud of all we have achieved together for our town and will always be grateful for the support and encouragement I have received from the community in Reading. I couldn’t have represented a better constituency or a nicer group of people.”

He added:

“In many ways it was angling that took me into politics since I came to Reading to go fishing and was lucky enough to be the first ever angling spokesman in the House of Commons for any political party. Whilst Labour’s Charter for Angling was a political first and set the standard for other parties to follow, I want to make sure that before I leave that angling will be the winner whatever the outcome of the next general election. To this end I have suggested to the Angling Trust that it produces its own manifesto for angling and invites all the major political parties to endorse it.”

Mr Salter said:

“ It is always difficult to know the right time to move on, but having just passed the big milestone of a quarter of a century in public life, I am now certain that this is the right decision for me, personally, and for my family. I’ve given the matter a great deal of thought over the past 18 months and was coming to the view that if this parliament were to run its full-term, which now seems highly likely, then I would not stand again. I’ve always said that I had no desire to be rattling around the House of Commons in my 60s and stepping down now means I’ll have time enough to seek new challenges before I retire. Whilst I have no specific job offers at the moment, I am very keen to use the skills and experience that I have developed over the last 25 years to benefit angling and the waterside environment. We have so many great new angling projects out there and I am sure I will find a useful role to play in the future. I am also planning to spend a little bit more time on the river bank!”

Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust said:-

“Martin has been the best possible friend angling could have in a politician. We’re very sorry that he is stepping down as an MP but hope very much that he will remain involved in the work of the Angling Trust in one capacity or another for many years to come.”