A FORMER Labour MEP for Worcestershire has been appointed to a key role at the heart of a body tasked with improving the county.

Dr Simon Murphy, who tried to become the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Mercia in 2012, has been appointed to the board of Worcestershire's Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

The former politician was an MEP between 1994 and 2004, lives in Worcester and has strong ties with the city as the current interim CEO of the community trust.

The LEP is being handed £47 million over the next five years from the Government to help improve Worcestershire.

The cash has come from a £2 billion deal known as the growth fund.

It includes finally building Worcestershire Parkway rail station, part-dualling of the A4440 Southern Link Road and £700,000 on flooding protection for New Road.

Dr Murphy's appointment is one of three new arrivals on the board - chairman of Sanctuary Housing Nick Baldwin and Chris Walklett, a partner at Bishop Fleming have also secured places on it.

Peter Pawsey, Worcestershire LEP chairman, said: "As the LEP enters a new phase with a greater focus on delivery of projects funded through the growth deal, I am confident our newly constituted board will not only be fit for purpose but also revitalised with fresh ideas, skills and energy.

"As we move forward we recognise that these are very positive and exciting times for Worcestershire.”

Dr Murphy lost out to current Police and Crime Commissioner Bill Longmore in 2012, despite getting 25 per cent of the overall vote for Labour.