Page last updated at 09:25 GMT, Monday, 11 January 2010

Deputy Tory chairman John Maples to step down as MP

John Maples (Pic: BBC/Flying Colours)
John Maples is the 124th MP to say they will step down

Senior Conservative MP John Maples has announced he is to step down as an MP at the coming general election.

Mr Maples, who is a deputy chairman of his party, said it was "the right time" for him to quit.

He has been MP for Stratford-Upon-Avon since 1997 and represented Lewisham West between 1983 and 1992.

Mr Maples is the 124th MP to have publicly declared their intention to quit at the general election which is expected to be held on 6 May.

In a letter to Philip Seccombe, chairman of the Stratford-upon-Avon Conservative Party Constituency Association, Mr Maples said he would have been an MP for most of the past 27 years.

'Right time'

"After a great deal of thought I have decided to retire from the House of Commons at the next election," he said.

"This has not been an easy decision, but having gone over it with (his wife) Jane and the family I have come to the conclusion that this is the right time."

Mr Maples said: "I expect great things of a Cameron administration and I will continue to give him and the party my complete support."

Mr Maples, 66, did not mention expenses but faced criticism in June after claims he had earmarked a Pall Mall club as his main home for a short time.

He explained that the Fees Office had sanctioned the move for the period between selling his main home in London in September 2004 and moving into a new property in April 2005.

Mr Maples was not required to repay any of these expenses following the audit of all MPs' past claims carried out by the former civil servant Sir Thomas Legg.

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