UPDATE 2.10pm: Newport West MP Paul Flynn thanked "heroine of Labour" Dame Rosemary Butler in a tweet this morning.
00.02am: STALWART Newport Labour AM and Assembly figurehead Dame Rosemary Butler is to stand down at the 2016 elections, the Argus can reveal today.
The Assembly's presiding officer told members of the Newport West constituency Labour party earlier this week that she will not seek re-election.
Dame Rosemary has had a long career in both civic and national politics, having served as an Assembly member, a Newport councillor, a Welsh minister and even town mayor.
She told the Argus: “It has been a privilege to represent the people of Newport West at the National Assembly since 1999 and I look forward to continuing to work for them over the next two years.
“I have enjoyed my time as an Assembly member and appreciate the opportunities I have had to serve in a number of roles, particularly as presiding officer.
“However I believe that 2016 will be the right time for me to pursue other interests and look for new challenges.”
Newport West’s Labour party will now be faced with finding a new candidate for the 2016 poll – while the Assembly will be tasked with replacing Dame Rosemary as presiding officer after the elections.
Dame Rosemary first emerged into Newport’s political life in 1973 when she was elected to be a ward councillor for Caerleon.
She served as mayor from 1989 to 1990, and won the first Assembly election for Newport West in 1999. In 2011 she was selected to be the second presiding officer of the National Assembly.
As presiding officer, her Women in Public Life campaign has aimed to push the issue of barriers to women to the top of the political agenda, and last December’s New Year Honours list saw Mrs Butler made a dame for political and public services, particularly to women.