POLITICS

Sir Peter Tapsell, Longest Serving MP, To Stand Down At Next Election

21/03/2014 12:49 GMT | Updated 21/03/2014 12:59 GMT
Flying Colours via Getty Images
LONDON, APRIL 1: Sir Peter Tapsell, Conservative Member of Parliament for Louth & Horncastle. (Photo by Flying Colours/Getty Images)

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.

His decision has prompted speculation that Boris Johnson could seek to stand in his place as a way of re-entering parliament in 2015.

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.