A WEST Midlands Euro-MP who has campaigned for the region’s motor industry is to stand down next year.
Conservative MEP Malcolm Harbour, a former Austin-Rover engineer at Longbridge, wants to spend more time with his wife and grandchilden when he retires at the European elections in 2014.
The 66-year-old was first elected to the Strasbourg Parliament in 1999 and is the current chairman of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee, influencing the direction of the European single market.
Mr Harbour, who was awarded the CBE this year, said: “After considerable reflection, I have decided that I will leave the European Parliament in 2014.
“Since my election for the first time in June 1999, I have greatly enjoyed my time in the European Parliament. In particular, it has given me extraordinary opportunities to represent my home region, the West Midlands, to get to know so many friendly people, to visit so many interesting places, and to develop my knowledge of an extraordinary range of businesses.”
He is a member of the European Conservative and Reformists Group and was their first ever committee chairman.
He added; “After I leave the parliament, I am looking forward to spending quality time with my wife Penny, who has given me such fantastic support throughout my political career. Not to mention seeing more of my four fast growing grand children. But it will also be good to explore ways in which I can share my experiences from European politics and business.”
He is the third of the region’s seven MEPs to announce he will step down in 2014, following Labour’s Michael Cashman and UKIP’s Michael Nattrass.
Mr Harbour has been a major advocate for the West Midland’s motor industry. Before being elected he spend 32 years as a motor industry engineer, researcher, consultant and executive, having started at Longbridge as an apprentice in 1967.
During his term he has also taken an interest in the digital economy, science and technology policy. In May 2006, he was named the UK’s most Small Business Friendly UK Parliamentarian by members of the Forum of Private Business.
Last November he was named by Euractiv as the third most influential Briton in EU policy.