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Sunday, 28 November, 1999, 17:23 GMT
Teresa Gorman to quit
Theresa Gorman wants to spend more time with her husband

Outspoken Tory MP Teresa Gorman says she will stand down at the next general election.

The 67-year-old MP, one of the Conservative Party's most vociferous anti-Europeans, said she wants to seek new challenges outside parliament.

Mrs Gorman, who represents Billericay in Essex, said: "There are so many more things to life than being a backbench MP.

"I have absolutely loved it, but after a certain length of time it's a good idea to reappraise your life and say 'What shall I do now?'."

The MP said she wanted to give more time to her husband, who has been ill for some time.

'Lobby fodder'

She said she also felt standing down would allow her to be more "candid" about her views in the run up to the next election.

During the last Conservative government, her "candid" comments on the Maastricht Treaty led to then prime minister John Major withdrawing the party whip from her.

Mrs Gorman said she wanted to travel and may set up a chain of businesses.

She said: "I love organising and doing things off my own bat, but on the backbenches you really are lobby fodder."

In a statement announcing her departure, she said: "I am particularly pleased to have played a part in the battle to retain our right to govern ourselves through our own parliament.

"Now that we have a European policy that is credible and more in tune with the instincts of the British people, our prospects as a party are altogether brighter."

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