Sir Tony Baldry has decided that he will not contest his seat at the General Election next year.
He has represented the Banbury constituency for more than 30 years after being elected in 1983, and said: “One of the consequences of now having five year fixed term Parliaments is that if I succeed in being re-elected at the forthcoming general election, given my age, most people will assume that Parliament will be my last.
“I think this creates a danger that I may be unable to be as effective as I would wish to be; and that the constituency will be distracted from more important issues by the need to choose my successor.
“So after careful thought over the summer recess and discussions with my family, I have decided to stand down at the next General Election. I do so fully confident that the Prime Minister and the Conservative Party will win the next General Election and fully confident that the North Oxfordshire Conservative Association will select an excellent person to succeed me as the Conservative candidate for the constituency.
“By the next General Election, I will have served as the MP for North Oxfordshire for nearly a third of a century and will be the longest serving MP for the constituency since the Great Reform Bill.
“It is an enormous privilege to represent the people of North Oxfordshire in Parliament. I will always be extremely grateful for the friendship and support that I have had from so many constituents over so many years.
“It goes without saying that I shall continue to work as hard as possible for my constituents until this Parliament is prorogued next year.”
Dr Michael Curry, North Oxfordshire Conservatives chairman, added: “Sir Tony has been a fantastic MP for North Oxfordshire and I would like to thank him for his exemplary service. He has been the longest serving MP for the constituency since the reform act and achieved a great deal for his constituents.
“I struggle to do justice to his many achievements as MP, but in particular we will always be grateful for the continued success of the Horton General Hospital in Banbury and the new Bicester Community Hospital.
“The Executive Council will meet soon in order to commence the process of selecting a candidate to contest next year’s General Election. Sir Tony leaves some big boots to fill, but we have every confidence that we will select a candidate worthy of carrying on the great work done by Sir Tony.”
Click here for a look back at Sir Tony Baldry MP’s career.