Sir John Major paid tribute to out-going Louth and Horncastle MP Sir Peter Tapsell and described him as ‘an icon’ of British politics.
Sir Peter will retire at May’s General Election after serving in the House of Commons continuously since 1966.
Sir John said: “know Sir Peter very well. He was an institution in the House of Commons when I was elected. He was an institution when I left and he is still an institution now.
“He’s an iconic figure. He’s the Father of the House. He’s been there since the Great Flood. That means people listen to what he has to say. He had great respect across all parties.
“We have had a friendly relationship but we haven’t always agreed. I admire Peter because he is his own man. He says what he thinks and does what he says. That is a greatest strength - and I think it’s a strength that will apply to the next Conservative MP of this constituency.”