Sir Robert set to say goodbye to Europe

Sir Robert Atkins who is to step down as an MEP
Sir Robert Atkins who is to step down as an MEP
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Conservative MEP Sir Robert Atkins will not be seeking re-election at next year’s European Elections.

Sir Robert, 67, from Garstang, said he would not be retiring from politics but had chosen to stand down from the European Parliament.

He was first elected as the Tory MEP for the North West in 1999.

Making the announcement in his newsletter, the former South Ribble MP, said he intended to remain just as active as before.

He added: “Dulcie and I want to thank each and every one of you for the commitment, enthusiasm and humour that you have provided for the Conservative Party in general and us in particular.

“Without your involvement in my activities over the years, the world would have been a much duller place!

“I offer my good wishes and encouragement to Jacqueline Foster and Sajjad Karim and the North-West Regional Team and wish them well for their future success.”

Speaking from his home in Garstang, Sir Robert, longtime member and President of Garstang Cricket Club emphasised he would not be retiring and would be keeping a hand in politics, just in a slightly different way.

He said: “When I lost my seat in 1997, people said to me you can’t give up and that is when I decided to give it a go in Europe.

“I have done 15 years, that is quite a long time, and I have always worked on the principle of ‘why are you standing down?’ rather than when.

“The frequent travel to Strasbourg and Brussels is part of it, I shall be turning 68 and there are other things I want to turn my hand to.

“I’m not quite clear yet but I will remain an active politician and have my narrowboat, grandchildren and various people wanting my involvement in an industrial and political vein.”

Sir Robert served as Deputy Leader of the Conservatives in the European Parliament until November 2007 and was Chief Whip there from November 2008 to November 2009. The father-of-two, has had a long career in politics starting as an MP for Preston North in 1979 before taking on the South Ribble constituency in 1983 until 1997.