When I heard the Prime Minister’s announcement of an early General Election I reacted enthusiastically with my only thought being to play my part in strengthening the position of the Conservative Party in Parliament.
Despite reservations on the part of some supporters about my candidature in the 2015 election I nevertheless helped to deliver the largest Conservative majority the constituency had ever known. So when asked by the media, friends and constituents whether I would be standing again my immediate reaction was positive.
I have had time during the last seven days to consult many people, not least my family and reflect on the unexpected situation which has arisen. Whilst I have no doubt as to my capacity and commitment to carry out my representative duties I have begun to recognize that it might test the friendship and goodwill of so many people whose support I have enjoyed if I sought to do so for a further five years.
I feel now that my initial instinctive response was premature and that I should not after all seek re-election for the Saffron Walden constituency in whose debt I am for the privilege of being granted 40 years’ service.