Tory former cabinet minister Gillian Shephard is to quit Parliament at the next general election, she has said.
Gillian Shephard is stepping down for "family health reasons"
The ex-education secretary said she would be stepping down from her South West Norfolk constituency for "family health reasons".
Mrs Shephard, 64, said she was "sad" to have to leave the constituency she has served since 1987.
"The past 17 years have been full of challenge, hard work and change within the constituency," she said.
She added that she was grateful to the officers, agents and members of the party who had actively supported her.
Mrs Shephard, who is married and has two stepsons, gave no further details of the family health problems that prompted the decision.
After entering Parliament in 1987, Mrs Shephard's first ministerial job was as
a Parliamentary Under Secretary for Social Security in 1989.
She later became the first woman Treasury minister, and deputy chairman of the
Conservative Party in 1990.
She entered John Major's Cabinet after the 1992 election as Employment
Secretary and Minister for Women, and became the first woman Minister of
Agriculture in 1993.
In 1994, she became Education Secretary, and in 1996, Education and Employment
In opposition, she served as shadow leader of the House of Commons but returned to the backbenches in 2002 after holding a number of posts.
Mrs Shephard was appointed by Tony Blair to the Committee for Standards in
Public Life in 2003, and is a member of the governing Council of the University