Sir Peter Tapsell has confirmed he will be stepping down as MP for Louth and Horncastle.
Sir Peter, aged 84, will not be seeking re-election at next year’s General Election.
He was due to announce his decision tonight (Friday) at the annual meeting of Louth and Horncastle Conservative Association.
However, news broke earlier today that his record-breaking career in the Commons was coming to an end.
Speculation is already mounting about a likely successor for what is regarded as one of the safest Tory seats in the country.
Previously, political ‘heavyweights’ of the stature of Boris Johnson have been linked with the position.
Sir Peter, lives in Roughton, near Woodhall Spa, with his wife Gabrielle who is from Normandy.
He is currently Father of the House of the Commons, the longest serving MP in the Commons and the last survivor of Harold Macmillan’s era as Prime Minister.
He has been a Tory MP for more than 50 years - and has represented Horncastle since 1966.
Sir Peter was first elected to the House in 1957 at a by-election in Wednesbury. He was previously personal assistant to Anthony Eden, the then Prime Minster.
He was MP for Nottingham West from 1959 to 1964.
Two years later, he was elected as MP for Horncastle.
He continued as an MP for the Lindsey East constituency from 1983 until 1992 and then the Louth and Horncastle constituency from 1997 to the present day.
He was knighted in 1985 and appointed to the Privy Council in 2011. Political Editors voted him “Backbencher of the Year” in 1993 and “Parliamentarian of the Year” in 2004.
Sir Peter was a front bench spokesman on Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1976-77) and on Treasury and Economic Affairs (1977-78).
He describes himself as a “forceful champion” of local interests and has campaigned strongly for funding for flood defences in Louth and Horncastle.
He has also spoken out against major new housing developments in both towns - and plans for wind farms in the Wolds area.
He also fought successfully to preserve Louth Hospital.