Parliament & Politics: Campbell-Savours intends to retire

Click to follow
ONE OF Labour's backbench mavericks, Dale Campbell-Savours, told his local party last night that he is planning to quit Parliament.

Mr Campbell-Savours was a thorn in the side of the Thatcher-Major governments, and developed a reputation for rooting out allegations of sleaze in the Tory Party. Praised for his forensic skills and persistence, Mr Campbell- Savours will stand down at the next election without forcing a by-election.

He has undergone two major operations, and has a debilitating lung disease, which has made the weekly journey to Westminster from his constituency in the Lake District too exhausting to continue.

Possessing a strong puritanical streak, Mr Campbell-Savours was regarded by the whips as largely impervious to their threats or blandishments. But although he is not a natural Blairite, he is not bowing out because of any disagreements with the Government. "I am very happy with the Government. I've never felt more at ease than I do now," he said. "My constituency is a long way from London and it is now too much for me. Some people say I should move to London but I would not do that."

Born in Swansea of wealthy parents, he turned down his inheritance and studied at the Sorbonne after going to a direct-grant school in Keswick, where he now lives.

Mr Campbell-Savours, 54, won his Workington seat in May 1979 and devoted his backbench career to making trouble for the establishment, including Mark Thatcher's business links, Freemasons in the police, and the publication of the book Spycatcher by the former MI5 officer Peter Wright.

Until he retires from the Commons, he intends to remain a thorn in the side of the establishment as a member of two investigative committees.