Liberal Democrat MP for Bath Don Foster to stand down

Don Foster Image copyright Don Foster
Image caption Don Foster was elected as Bath's MP in 1992

Don Foster, the MP for Bath, has announced he will stand down at the next general election.

The Liberal Democrat MP was first elected to the Bath seat in 1992 when he beat then-chairman of the Conservative party Chris Patten.

Mr Foster, who was made the party's chief whip in October, said standing down had been a "very difficult decision".

He added his work "was not over with 17 months before the next election".

The next general election is due to take place in May 2015.

Mr Foster said it had been "an enormous privilege since 1992 to serve the people of this great city through five parliamentary sessions".

'Unrivalled tenacity'

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said Mr Foster was "an outstanding MP and will be hugely missed by his constituents and his colleagues in parliament".

"His energy, humour and tenacity are unrivalled and I have seen first-hand Don's tireless efforts to serve Bath as an MP and Britain as a minister.

"After 33 years as a public servant - as a local councillor on Avon County Council and as MP for Bath - Don will be hugely missed."

The Liberal Democrat leader added that "with five stunning victories behind him, [Don] leaves big shoes to fill".

Chair of the Bath and North East Somerset Liberal Democrats Shaun McGall said Mr Foster had been "an exceptional advocate for Bath and its residents over the last 20 years".

He added there would be a meeting later to start the process to select a new candidate.

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