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Suffolk MP to stand down at General Election

PUBLISHED: 08:52 30 December 2009 | UPDATED: 09:02 01 August 2010

Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer has become the third Conservative MP in the county to announce he is not seeking re-election next year.

Mr Gummer, who celebrated his 70th birthday last month, has decided to concentrate all his efforts on trying to salvage the climate change agenda from the failure of the Copenhagen summit earlier this month.

Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer has become the third Conservative MP in the county to announce he is not seeking re-election next year.

Mr Gummer, who celebrated his 70th birthday last month, has decided to concentrate all his efforts on trying to salvage the climate change agenda from the failure of the Copenhagen summit earlier this month.

Conservatives in Suffolk Coastal - which stretches from Southwold to Felixstowe and includes Woodbridge and Saxmundham - must now choose a successor to defend Mr Gummer's 9,685 majority.

With a General Election possible before the end of March, they must start the process immediately.

The former Environment Secretary said: “Copenhagen was a total disaster.

“Telephone conversations with colleagues throughout Europe convinced me that international action is needed now if the calamity of climate change is to be avoided.

“I feel passionately about the subject. This is the danger that most faces us and unless something is done, the world will be in real trouble.

“But if I am to concentrate fully on the environment, I cannot devote the time I would wish to my constituency. I fully intended to serve one more term as MP for Suffolk Coastal, but Copenhagen changed all that.”

Mr Gummer, a graduate of Cambridge where he was president of the Union in 1962, entered the House of Commons in 1970 as MP for Lewisham West in south-east London, having contested Greenwich in both 1964 and 1966.

Losing his seat in 1974, he was selected for the Eye division of Suffolk and was elected in 1979 when Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister.

Under constituency boundary changes in 1983, Eye was carved up between the new seats of Central Suffolk and Suffolk Coastal and he was chosen to fight Coastal, which also incorporated parts of the former Sudbury & Woodbridge seat.

He first entered government in 1981 as a junior whip and rose through the ranks to serve in a number of key ministries. For a time, he was chairman of the Conservative Party and joined the Cabinet in 1989 as Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food.

He was reappointed when John Major became Prime Minister in 1990, before becoming Secretary of State for the Environment in 1993.

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