As he prepares to stand down, Greg Pope talks to Simon Thacker about his highlights as Hyndburn MP over the last 18 years ...
Let's take a trip back in time to 1992. No-one has ever heard of Oasis, John Major is Prime Minister, Facebook and the dot-com revolution are years away.
And of course, an ambitious young man named Greg Pope has just become Hyndburn’s MP.
Fast-forward 18 years, and Labour stalwart Greg is now set to step down, following the announcement of a General Election.
But how did the boy from Great Harwood first get started on his path to power?
Greg, 49, said: "I remember the night I got elected. I didn’t think I would win, to be honest, as the then-MP Ken Hargreaves was ahead all the way through.
"We finally got down to the very last box and that’s when I finally went ahead and won. "Funnily enough, I thought because I had won, Labour had won, too.
"So I did an interview on Radio 4 and said it was the end of 13 years of Conservative rule, before they put me right!
"If you look at the country in the 1980s under Margaret Thatcher, it was a very divisive time.
"There really was a feeling that if you lived up north, they didn’t care about you. That’s why I felt someone like me had a chance to stand and to help make a difference."
It was not long before Greg the MP’s career took off.
He served on the Education Select Committee until becoming an Opposition Whip in 1995 and, following the Labour win two years later, became a Lord Commissioner of the Treasury.
He then worked in the Foreign Office and later the Department for Trade and Industry before leaving government in 2001.
And there have, of course, been plenty of highlights.
There was the case of Great Harwood man Peter Fell, wrongfully jailed for a double murder he did not commit, whose case Greg championed.
He said: "It was a case I supported and so did the Accrington Observer.
"I just kept thinking we had come from the same town, but our lives had turned out so differently."
Like all long-serving MPs, Greg has seen plenty of changes – including within his own party.
He said: "I am very much a Blairite and I do support Tony Blair. I remember when John Smith died in 1994, I supported him for the leadership.
"I also ran the campaign to abolish the old Clause 4 which committed us to nationalisation, which had both supporters and opponents.
"We needed to do it, to show we were serious and committed to running the country."
And what about his colleagues on a personal level?
He said: "Tony is a really nice guy, very affable, considering the pressures a leader is under.
"I don’t think it’s a secret I’m not Gordon Brown’s biggest fan, but he has certainly been a rock in these times of economic crisis and handled it very well.
"I get on really well with all nearby MPs. Janet Anderson has been a great colleague, very supportive over the years and a good friend. I also get on very well with Jack Straw, as we both support Blackburn Rovers. Whatever our politics, we always agreed they shouldn’t have sold Shearer."
Greg’s time as an MP has taken him around the world, including to Iraq, Afghanistan and the Gaza Strip.
He has also met such luminaries as former US president Bill Clinton and Kofi Annan.
Ironically, considering his interest in foreign policy and especially the Middle-East, it was Iraq which proved one of Greg’s toughest times.
He said: "I nearly didn’t stand in 2005 as we had just had the Iraq war and I just felt very low. But quite a few friends and family talked to me and persuaded me to have one more term, which I have done.
"But I have no regrets overall about my time and although it is a very demanding job – far more so than people realise, I have enjoyed it."