I have informed the Leader of the Opposition, the Speaker, and the Chairman of South Staffordshire Conservative Association that, after a great deal of careful thought, and family discussions, I have most reluctantly decided not to offer myself for re-election at the next General Election. I have been immensely proud to have been a Staffordshire Member in the world’s greatest Parliament for close on forty years, much more than half my life. I regard membership of the House of Commons as the highest honour to which any British subject can aspire and I shall always be grateful to have had the opportunity, and the great privilege, of serving my country and my constituency at Westminster.
I am most anxious to continue to work for some of the causes I have campaigned for over the years but I have recently had my third severe attack of bronchitis in two years and my doctor tells me I really ought to cut down on my normal ‘term time’ working week of 70 to 80 hours. The unhappy events of recent months in Parliament have made those hours much more of a burden than they used to be and it is also becoming increasingly clear that the new House of Commons will be very different from the old. Sadly, I have come to the conclusion that it is right that I should hand the torch to a younger man or woman, someone who will, as I have done, be able to offer many years of service to the people of South Staffordshire.
I know he has been agonising over this decision for some time, and it will have been a real wrench for this genuine lover of Parliament to have come to the conclusion that he should leave the institution he reveres so much. I, for one, will miss him.