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Friday, 24 March, 2000, 22:12 GMT
Tory MP to step down
Sir Nicholas Lyell
Sir Nicholas served in John Major's cabinet
Former Attorney General Sir Nicholas Lyell has announced he is to step down as an MP at the next General Election.

Sir Nicholas, the MP for North East Bedfordshire, told his constituency annual general meeting: "It is a very difficult decision but I believe the time has come to make way for a younger candidate.

"I shall continue to help in every way I can to put the case for Bedfordshire and to play an active part in Conservative and national politics in whatever capacity I may be asked.

"I will continue to support wholeheartedly the leadership of William Hague."

'Tireless servant'

Sir Nicholas QC, 61, served in the governments of both John Major and Margaret Thatcher for 11 years.

He was initially parliamentary under secretary of state for social security from 1986 to 1987, solicitor general from 1987 to 1992 and attorney general from 1992 to 1997.

He was the longest continuously serving law officer for more than 100 years.



Nick Lyell served his party extremely well as attorney general


Tory Party chairman Michael Ancram
He won the Hemel Hempstead seat from Labour in 1979, represented Mid Bedfordshire from 1983 and then North East Bedfordshire from 1997.

Conservative Party chairman Michael Ancram said: "Nick Lyell served his country and his party extremely well as attorney general and in a number of other senior roles in the last Conservative Government and he has been a tireless servant of his constituents during his 21 years in Parliament.

"His presence will be missed by all at Westminster.

"I am extremely grateful for all the years of service Nick has put in for the Conservative Party and I wish him well in his retirement."

The Tory MP for Wycombe, Sir Ray Whitney, who has represented the area since 1978, also announced on Friday he will stand down at the next election.

Sir Ray is the fourth prominent MP in recent weeks to announce they will not contest the next election after former Prime Minister John Major and Yorkshire East MP John Townend both said they will not stand.

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See also:

10 Mar 00 | UK Politics
Major to stand down
22 Mar 00 | UK Politics
Veteran Tory MP to step down
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