The man who rose from working down the pit to a knighthood and a career as Derbyshire Dales’s MP for 33 years has been reflecting on his decision to stand down.
Sir Patrick McLoughlin has opted not to contest the General Election on December 12, bringing the curtain down on an illustrious spell as a Conservative MP.
The 61-year-old former miner insisted his decision had nothing to do with the long-running saga over Brexit that has engulfed Parliament over the last three years, but was rooted instead on his view that it was “time to move on”.
In a statement, Sir Patrick said: “It has been an enormous privilege to serve as MP for Derbyshire Dales (formerly West Derbyshire) since 1986 when I won the seat in a by-election (succeeding Matthew Parris).
“It is now the right to time for me to stand aside and let someone else take this beautiful constituency forward.
“My family and I have had tremendous support throughout my time as its MP, from constituents, councillors, association officers and party volunteers.
“I hope to see them all again because my wife, Lynn, and I plan to remain in Derbyshire. We shall now have more time to enjoy the county.”
Born in Stafford, Sir Patrick was one of the few MPs to be a manual worker before being elected to Parliament.
He worked underground at Littleton Colliery in Cannock and was a member of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). He initially entered politics as a councillor.
Sir Patrick spent 30 of his 33 years as an MP on the Front Bench, both in government and in opposition, and served under five Conservative Prime Ministers.
His first ministerial post was as a junior transport minister under Margaret Thatcher in 1989. He was David Cameron’s Chief Whip in the coalition government with the Liberal Democrats after the 2010 General Election.
In 2012, he became Transport Secretary, and then he served as Conservative Party chairman from 2016 t0 2018. He was appointed a Knight Bachelor in 2016 for political and public service.
In his farewell statement, Sir Patrick paid particular tribute to Lewis Rose, who led Derbyshire Dales District Council for many years. He said: “I always appreciated Lewis’s calm and frank advice.”