Labour MP Kevin Brennan says he is standing down

Kevin Brennan MP standing up in the UK Parliament
Kevin Brennan has served the Cardiff West constituency in Parliament for 23 years [PA Media]

Labour MP Kevin Brennan has announced he will stand down ahead of the general election.

Mr Brennan said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, that he had originally intended to stand for a seventh term in Parliament following Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's surprise election announcement, but had changed his mind following discussions with his family.

In 2022 he revealed he had undergone surgery to treat prostate cancer.

He has served the Cardiff West parliamentary seat for 23 years and is Labour's shadow minister for victims and sentencing.

In a social media post on Monday evening, Mr Brennan wrote: "I’m announcing my decision to stand down as Cardiff West MP after 23 years - thank you to local Labour members and constituents for your friendship and support."

He attached a personal statement in which he wrote that after speaking to his family, "I have concluded that this is the right election for me to stand 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."

Kevin Brennan standing at a microphone with a red floret and Cardiff on a sign behind him in Welsh
Mr Brennan says he is "immensely sad to stand down as an MP" [Getty Images]

He said he was “immensely sad to stand down as an MP” and, despite previously supporting rival Lisa Nandy for Labour leader, reiterated his support for Keir Starmer, “who I passionately hope will become Prime Minister in July".

Mr Brennan was first elected in 2001, serving as a whip and in three different ministerial positions under two Labour prime ministers, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

Mr Brennan won the seat at the 2019 election with a majority of 10,986 votes.

But the constituency boundaries have changed for this year’s general election as the number of Welsh seats in Westminster is reduced from 40 to 32.

The new Cardiff West constituency will include the Pontyclun wards of neighbouring Rhondda Cynon Taf council – which were previously part of the Labour-held Pontypridd and Ogmore seats.

Kevin Brennan holding an electric guitar alongside three other MP musicians
Kevin Brennan plays guitar, alongside three other politicians, in the parliamentary rock band MP4 [Getty Images]

Mr Brennan put aside political differences in 2004 to play guitar in a charity rock band MP4 with fellow Labour MP Ian Cawsey on vocals and bass, the SNP's Pete Wishart on keyboards and Tory Greg Knight on drums.

"Tony Blair wasn't available so I agreed to do it," he joked at the time.

His passion for playing music carried over to campaigns on cultural issues.

He brought a private member's bill in 2021 seeking to change copyright laws on music streaming after a committee of MPs called for a "complete reset" of the market so that artists could be paid fairly.

He and fellow Cardiff MP Jo Stevens also backed changes to planning laws to safeguard live music venues, including a campaign to protect those in Cardiff's Womanby Street.

Mr Brennan also spoke in favour of keeping strong ties with the European Union after the Brexit vote.

He was sacked as Labour's shadow culture minister in 2017 for defying a three-line whip and voting against the European Union Bill, which allowed Theresa May to trigger the Brexit process.

He was then a vocal campaigner for a new referendum on Boris Johnson's Brexit deal in 2019.

He told the the Commons that the-then PM had changed his mind on previous proposals.

Mr Brennan said: "Why doesn't the government have the courage, therefore, to allow the same privilege to the people of the country to make their judgement on this deal?"

Additional reporting by Catrin Haf Jones