Sir Eric Pickles to quit as MP before General Election

Bethany Minelle, News Reporter

Former cabinet minister Sir Eric Pickles has said he will not stand for re-election on 8 June.

The former communities and local government secretary announced his decision on Twitter, writing: "Looking forward to #GE2017 as a canvasser, not a candidate."

After holding the Essex seat of Brentwood and Ongar since 1992, the Conservative politician will now be stepping down as an MP.

He thanked his constituents, saying: "Thank you Brentwood and Ongar for your support and friendship over 25 years."

Speaking in a radio interview, he said he would "miss it dreadfully".

The 65-year-old said he had "lots of plans" and confirmed he will be continuing in his role of UK Envoy on Post-Holocaust Issues, a position he has held since 2015.

Other prominent Conservative MPs who have said they will not be standing in the forthcoming General Election include George Osborne - who starts his new role as editor of the Evening Standard on 2 May - and Aldershot MP Sir Gerald Howarth.

Labour politicians who have said they will not stand include former Labour home secretary Alan Johnson, Brownite Michael Dugher, staunch Corbyn critic Tom Blenkinsop, Eurosceptic Gisela Stuart and Andy Burnham, who is standing for election as mayor of Greater Manchester.

Former Tory Douglas Carswell announced he'd quit Westminster just weeks after leaving UKIP.

Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage - who has tried and failed to become an MP seven times - said he would not be standing, insisting he could best influence the Brexit process by remaining an MEP.