Wealden MP Charles Hendry has written to members of his Constituency Association about the privilege of being MP for Wealden, the area where he was brought up and has lived for most of his life.
Mr Hendry who broke the news last night that he will not be seeking re-election to Parliament at the election in 2015 tells how he has decided now is the right time to move on.
Mr Hendry, 53, has been MP for Wealden since 2001. It is however more than 20 years since he was first elected to parliament, as MP for the High Peak in 1992, and he has contested every general election for the past 30 years.
Mr Hendry held the Conservative energy portfolio for longer than anyone else, including 4 ½ years in opposition and almost 2 ½ years as Minister of State.
He has also served as deputy chairman of the Conservative Party.
Mr Hendry comments: “This is a decision I made some time ago. I have been incredibly privileged to represent Wealden in Parliament, which is the most wonderful constituency, both in terms of its natural beauty, but especially the kindness and warmth of its people.
“By the time of the next election in 2015, I will have been MP here for 14 years, and it will be 23 years since I was first elected to Parliament.
“Politics needs to be constantly refreshed, and I feel that having contested every election since 1983, it is now time to let someone else take on this very special role. It was a great privilege to be a Minister in Government, but the greatest honour of all was to be MP for this very special constituency, which will continue to be our home.”
Mr Hendry emphasised that he would continue to work for his constituents until the end of this Parliament and to support the Government’s economic and welfare reforms.
He said: “My decision should not be seen either as lack of support for the Government’s policies or as disappointment that I stopped being a Minister last September. I am a strong supporter of the Prime Minister and of the steps he is taking to rebuild our economy and to tackle long-standing problems, such as welfare and pension reform, which have been out off for far too long, and I will be proud to continue to stand up for the interests of my constituents, as those reforms go forward.
“I am making this announcement now to give the constituency association ample time to choose a candidate who can get well-established ahead of the general election”, he added.