Conservative former chancellor Ken Clarke has said he is “minded” not to stand again in the next general election.
The Father of the House, who was elected as MP for Rushcliffe in 1970, said he wanted to “pack it up” before people start “dropping hints” telling him to do so.
Speaking at a lunch in Westminster, Mr Clarke, 78, told reporters: “You’ve got to hold yourself out as being able to do five more years and do the job properly…
“I’m currently minded to step down and I’ve told my people in Nottingham that I’m not standing again.”
He said it was a “great pity” in the middle of such an “historic crisis” to leave the Commons, admitting the temptation was there to “carry on”.
But he added: “I’m minded to give it in, to pack it in, because I just think in every walk of life – not particularly politics – of course it’s extraordinary for me to have a full time job at the age I have reached…
“But you’ve got to decide to pack it up before people start dropping hints telling you to pack it up because you can’t do it any more.
“You may gather that I’ve therefore firmly decided to retire and I hedge it every time I’m asked.”
Mr Clarke’s 49 years in Parliament have seen him serve under David Cameron, John Major and Margaret Thatcher – with Cabinet posts including Chancellor and the Home Secretary.