Sir Eric Pickles - who was the secretary for communities and local government between 2010 and 2015 - has announced he is standing down as MP for Brentwood and Ongar at the General Election.
Sir Eric said after ‘much heart searching’ he felt the time was right for his constituency to have a new representative in Westminster.
In a statement he said: ‘I have served in elected office, either as a councillor or a member of parliament for just short of forty years, starting with the wonderful Margaret Thatcher up to and including Theresa May.
‘I strongly believe that it is in the national interest for Theresa to receive the clear endorsement of the British people for her difficult task of removing this country from the EU.’
He added: ‘After much heart searching I have concluded that now is the right time for Brentwood and Ongar to have a new representative in Westminster.”
Sir Eric was responsible for the Localism Act of 2011 and oversaw some of the biggest cuts to local government funding.
Here are all our past stories on Sir Eric, including his attack on council reserves and tireless support for weekly bin collections.