MP Sir Peter Tapsell to stand down at 2015 general election

His announcement comes after 55 years of service

Britain's longest-serving MP, Sir Peter Tapsell, is to stand down at the next general election.

The Conservative will tell his local association tonight that he will not fight the 2015 campaign.

Sir Peter, 84, was first elected to the Commons 55 years ago aged 29 and has contested 15 parliamentary elections in five constituencies.

As a result of his lengthy parliamentary service, Sir Peter is Father of the House, a title bestowed on the MP who has served in the Commons for the longest time without a break.

A former stockbroker and merchant banker, he was a persistent critic of Margaret Thatcher's economic policy and was named as the Tory MP to second Michael Heseltine's nomination for the leadership of the Conservative Party in 1990.

Sir Peter was personal assistant to Sir Anthony Eden during the 1955 general election campaign. He went on to fight, and lose, a by-election at Wednesbury, Staffordshire, in 1957, but won West Nottingham from Labour in 1959, only to lose it in 1964.

He was a front-bench Opposition spokesman on Treasury and Economic Affairs and on Foreign Affairs in the 1970s.

Sir Peter's decision to stand down will open up a plum vacancy in a safe Tory seat. In the 2010 election he secured a 13,871 majority.

Speculation will inevitably focus on Boris Johnson, particularly after David Cameron said on Friday he wants the mayor of London back in the Commons at the next election.

Mr Johnson has always insisted that he will see out his term in the capital, due to end in 2016, but the Prime Minister suggested that he "can stay on as mayor and come back to the House".

The mayor's official spokesman would not be drawn on the speculation but said: "The mayor is getting on with running London - delivering the housing, the jobs and the growth needed in a rapidly-expanding city."

Sir Peter was elected MP for Horncastle in 1966 and has served the constituency under its numerous boundary and name changes - most recently Louth and Horncastle - ever since.

After him, there are four MPs - Sir Gerald Kaufman, Kenneth Clarke, Michael Meacher and Dennis Skinner - who share the longest unbroken service, having first been elected at the 1970 election.

The mayor's official spokesman would not be drawn on the speculation but said: "The mayor is getting on with running London - delivering the housing, the jobs and the growth needed in a rapidly-expanding city."

Sir Peter was elected MP for Horncastle in 1966 and has served the constituency under its numerous boundary and name changes - most recently Louth and Horncastle - ever since.

After him, there are four MPs - Sir Gerald Kaufman, Kenneth Clarke, Michael Meacher and Dennis Skinner - who share the longest unbroken service, having first been elected at the 1970 election.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Trainee / Graduate Helpdesk Analyst

£20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable business is looking to rec...

Recruitment Genius: Estimator

£28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a major supplier of buil...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£28000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Application Support Engineer with SQL skills

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable business is looking to rec...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas