Page last updated at 13:03 GMT, Friday, 18 December 2009

Tory MP Julie Kirkbride will stand down after all

Julie Kirkbride
Ms Kirkbride revealed her decision on her website

Conservative MP Julie Kirkbride has finally decided to stand down at the next general election after criticism of her expenses claims.

Ms Kirkbride is understood to have been reconsidering her initial plan to quit.

But in a Christmas message on her website she has told her Bromsgrove constituents she will not be fighting next year's general election after all.

It is understood the backbencher discussed the issue recently with Conservative leader David Cameron.

In her message, Ms Kirkbride said: "I want to take this opportunity to confirm to you, my constituents, that I will not be representing you all after the next general election.

"I am sad to be leaving but this is entirely my decision. I would like to wish my association the very best of luck as they find my successor in the new year."

Anti-Kirkbride petition

Ms Kirkbride was embroiled in the expenses furore along with her husband, fellow Conservative MP Andrew Mackay.

She claimed thousands of pounds in expenses for their family home in her Worcestershire constituency, while Mr Mackay claimed on the property they shared in London.

Mr Mackay, who represents Bracknell in Berkshire but has no home there, has also decided to stand down at the election.

The couple's actions, which meant all of their accommodation was effectively paid for by the taxpayer, sparked anger among voters in Bromsgrove and an anti-Kirkbride petition.

It was reported last month on the Tory supporting blog ConservativeHome that Ms Kirkbride had informed her constituency association she wanted to rescind her resignation.

It had been thought that she might enter an open primary selection procedure to find a new Tory candidate for Bromsgrove.

A senior Conservative source said: "It's Julie's own decision. She has talked to David Cameron about it, but it's her own decision."

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