HELEN Jones gave her final speech in Parliament on Tuesday before she retires next month.

The Warrington North MP, who announced last week she would not be running in December's General Election, spoke during the valedictory debate.

Mrs Jones is the longest serving MP in Warrington's history having first been elected in 1997.

She paid tribute to her family, husband Mike and son Chris and the staff of the house of Commons.

She also thanked the staff of the petitions committee she has chaired.

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She said: "It is an extraordinary privilege to chair a Select Committee, but it is a particular privilege to chair a new Committee and to be able to shape it, and I think that the Petitions Committee has been one of the successes in the House in the past few years.

"We have managed to pursue inquiries and not just become a clearing house for petitions, and we have pioneered new ways of communicating with the public. I could not have done that without the support of the wonderful staff who often work under extreme pressure, and also without the support of members of the Committee, who have shown that it is possible to look at issues with a clear, unprejudiced eye, and to reach common ground on how to deal with them."

She also spoke warmly about the people of Warrington North.

She added: "I want to thank the wonderful electors of Warrington North, who have returned me in six general elections—thus proving that they are people of impeccable taste and judgment—and who have shown throughout a real decency that has supported me in difficult times.

"Most of my constituents are what I would call the “respectable working class”. They pay their bills on time, go to work, and keep their houses and gardens tidy.

""They are far too often ignored in politics, because they are not the noisy people; they are not the shouting people. In an age when there are lots of people shouting on social media, it is perhaps time we remembered that most people are decent people, and it is to them that we should be addressing ourselves.

Our politics has, I am afraid, become mired in a way of speaking which appeals to the worst in people. We hear talk about war, surrender, and so on, but politics ought to appeal to the best instincts of people, not their worst. If the House is to move forward in the future, it is the best instincts of people to which we need to appeal, because most people are common-sense people who will look for a compromise."

And she said that as a daughter of factory workers, the granddaughter of a miner and growing up on a council estate, she never expected to be an MP.

"When I was growing up if someone had said that one day I would be an MP that would have seemed as remote a possibility as my flying to the moon," she said. "It has been an incredible privilege to be here over these years and it will be a wrench to go, but we all have to go at some point and it will be a wrench whenever we decide to retire."