First female foreign secretary, educated in Norwich, to retire as MP

File photo dated 25/09/21 of Margaret Beckett speaking at the Labour Party conference in Brighton. D

Dame Margaret Beckett, the first woman to serve as foreign secretary, has announced her intention to retire at the next general election. - Credit: PA

Dame Margaret Beckett, the first woman to serve as foreign secretary, has announced she will retire after over 40 years of being an MP.

The MP, who went to Notre Dame High School for Girls in Norwich, has revealed her intention to retire at the next election.

Derby Labour Party announced that the 79-year-old politician would not seek re-election at the next national vote in 2024.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has hailed Dame Margaret, who was also the first woman to lead the Labour Party, as a "trailblazer" after she said she plans to stand down from the Derby South constituency.

He said: "As the UK's first female foreign secretary, and Labour's first female leader, she is a trailblazer," he said.

"Margaret, I thank you for everything you've given, and achieved."

First elected in Lincoln in 1974, she served as acting leader of the Labour Party in 1994 after the sudden death of John Smith.

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That same year, she ran for election to lead the party full time, but lost to Tony Blair, who would later make her foreign secretary.

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner said: "So many years of dedication to public service and to better politics.

"What a woman and what an inspiration Margaret is to us all."