Former Conservative cabinet member Sir Eric Pickles is standing down as Brentwood and Ongar MP after 25 years

 
Rebecca Smith
Pickles has been MP for Brentwood and Ongar since 1992
Pickles has been MP for Brentwood and Ongar since 1992 (Source: Getty)

Former Conservative cabinet member Sir Eric Pickles has announced he will be standing down as Brentwood and Ongar MP after 25 years.

He said he looked forward to the General Election "as a canvasser, not a candidate".

Pickles, who has served as secretary of state for communities and local government, told the BBC he had decided it "was time" for the constituency to have a new MP and rather than go on for another five years when he would have just turned 70, "it was probably a good idea to make the change".

The former Conservative party chairman added: "I'm sure I'm going to miss it, I'm going to miss it dreadfully."

Read more: George Osborne has quit one of his lowest paid jobs

The Conservative has been MP for Brentwood and Ongar since 1992 and became the secretary of state for communities and local government in the coalition government headed up by Prime Minister David Cameron until May 2015. He also served as the chairman of the Conservative party from 2009 to 2010.

Pickles also gave the Prime Minister his backing ahead of the upcoming election, saying it was in the national interest for Theresa May to receive "the clear endorsement of the British people" ahead of withdrawing Britain from the European Union, following last June's Brexit vote.

Pickles' announcement marks the latest high-profile MP to step back from parliament, following former chancellor George Osborne's declaration he would not be standing again, as well as Labour's former home secretary Alan Johnson quitting as West Hull and Hessle MP.

Theresa May's surprise announcement that she was calling a General Election for 8 June has caused a flurry of activity among MPs as they mull over whether to pursue another term in parliament.

There are also those, including former business secretary Vince Cable, seeking to reclaim a seat.

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