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Labour MP Kevin Brennan announces he is standing down

27 May 2024 4 minute read
Cardiff West MP Kevin Brennan. Photo UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor PA Images

Martin Shipton

Long-serving Cardiff West Labour MP Kevin Brennan has unexpectedly decided not to seek re-election in the general election.


In a statement issued on Monday evening he said: “It has been the privilege of my life to represent the Cardiff West constituency as its Labour MP for the past 23 years. Following the sudden announcement last Wednesday, it was still my intention to stand again for a seventh term.

“But after discussing it with my family over the Bank Holiday weekend I have concluded that this is the right election for me to step down.

“The job of a Member of Parliament is immensely rewarding, but hugely demanding for the individual and their loved ones. I have always enjoyed its intensity and challenge, but after surgery for prostate cancer, a small seed of doubt was sown as to whether I should continue in such a full-on role.

“Standing again would mean making a commitment to perform the demanding duties of an MP close to my 70th birthday. This has led me to conclude that this is the right moment to stand down.

“I was elected to Parliament in 2001. I served as a whip and in three ministerial posts under two Labour Prime Ministers, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Using the power of government to improve the lives of ordinary people and bring about change for the better was an enormous honour.

“I also spent 10 years as a shadow minister in several positions, including most recently in the shadow justice team with my good friend Shabana Mahmood MP. I sincerely hope that she will become the Labour Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor under Keir Starmer, who I passionately hope will become Prime Minister in July.

“As a Labour minister I was proud to bring in policies to support children in care, boost charities through the financial crash and reform the credit card industry in favour of consumers.As a backbench MP I was honoured to receive a reward from the Community Union for my campaigning to introduce the financial assistance scheme for workers who lost their pensions.

“In recent years I have pursued the issue of fair pay for those working in the creative industries, particularly in music.The Culture Select Committee report on the economics of music streaming and my private member’s bill to create fairer remuneration for musicians were two highlights of that work. I thank the Musicians Union and the Ivors Academy for honouring me for those efforts.

“I will forever be grateful to the members of the Labour Party in Cardiff West for supporting me as their candidate. Including my period as a Cardiff city councillor for Canton this elected public service spans 33 years. I intend to remain engaged in politics as an active Cardiff West party member. I thank the constituents of Cardiff West for their support over these years. I have always tried to help anyone who is in need or has a problem, particularly those seeking to get an answer or redress out of powerful public or private authorities.

“I am immensely grateful to my team in the joint office I share with my good friend Mark Drakeford MS ( Ramesh, Elaine, Peter, Gareth, Laura, Nadila and Amiel) who work so hard on behalf of our constituents. I will be immensely sad to stand down as an MP, but this is the right time. Thank you for your friendship, support and understanding.”


Mr Brennan was brought up in Cwmbran, his father having moved to Wales for work from County Cork in Ireland. He went to the local comprehensive school and on to Oxford University, where he succeeded former Tory leader William Hague as President of the Oxford Union.

He became a teacher and was head of economics at Radyr Comprehensive School before working as chief of staff to Rhodri Morgan, his predecessor as Cardiff West MP and later First Minister.

Mr Brennan was Mr Morgan’s campaign manager when he stood against Alun Michael to be the first leader of Welsh Labour. When Mr Morgan stood down as MP to concentrate on his work at the then National Assembly, Mr Brennan took his place in Westminster.

A highly talented songwriter and musician, Mr Brennan was a joint founder of the cross-party folk rock band MP4.

His decision to retire from Parliament means that Labour must pick a new candidate for Cardiff West.

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Richard E
Richard E
20 days ago

A good Cardiff constituency MP ✅
Well liked & thoughful @ Westmindter ✅
Not afraid to speak out on his topics ✅
Didn’t “ do Wales “ ❌
No key post election Commons top Job ❌
A role in the “ Lords “ ♻️

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