The UK’s first and only Green MP Caroline Lucas has announced she will not stand as a candidate at the next general election.

Ms Lucas, who has represented the constituency of Brighton Pavilion, confirmed she would stand down as an MP at the next election, which is expected to take place next autumn.

In a letter to her constituents seen exclusively by The Argus, Ms Lucas said that, while she was grateful for the opportunity to represent the city, her commitments have meant she has been unable to focus more on “the existential challenges that drive me - the nature and climate emergencies”.

She said: “I love this city and its people, and I know how incredibly blessed I’ve been to have been given the opportunity to represent you, and to work alongside you.

“I have always prided myself on being, first and foremost, a good constituency MP. I’ve done everything possible to help wherever I can and always worked to ensure that people feel heard, that their concerns matter, and that they are not alone.

“But the intensity of these constituency commitments, together with the particular responsibilities of being my party’s sole MP, mean that, ironically, I’ve not been able to focus as much as I would like on the existential challenges that drive me - the nature and climate emergencies.

“The truth is, as these threats to our precious planet become ever more urgent, I have struggled to spend the time I want on these accelerating crises.

“I have therefore decided not to stand again as your MP at the next election.”

The Argus: Caroline Lucas giving a speech after her election in 2019Caroline Lucas giving a speech after her election in 2019 (Image: Simon Dack)

Selected as a candidate for Brighton Pavilion in 2007, Caroline Lucas made history in 2010 when she was elected as the first Green MP in the UK, beating Labour’s candidate Nancy Platts by 1,252 votes. She also became the first woman to represent the constituency.

Since first being elected 13 years ago, Ms Lucas has increased her majority at every subsequent election, securing 57.2 per cent of the vote in 2019.

She said: “My heart will always be in this special city, and with the inspiring communities and individuals I’ve been privileged to get to know.

“On election night 2010, I pledged that I would my very best to do you proud. I can only hope that - whether you voted for me or not - you will judge that that is what I have done.”

The Argus:

Ms Lucas looked back at some of the progress achieved on climate change during her time in Parliament, as well as other issues she “put… on the political agenda”.

She said: “The reason I came into politics was to change things. 13 years ago, it was inconceivable that Parliament would have declared a climate emergency; I’ve put issues like a universal basic income and a legal right to access nature on the political agenda; secured the first Parliamentary debate in a generation on drug law reform; and thanks to my work in Parliament, a Natural History GCSE will soon be on the syllabus.

“I have said the previously unsayable, only to see it become part of the mainstream, on coal, on the myth that endless economic growth makes us happier, on a Green New Deal.

“My determination to try and make change is stronger than ever. I look forward to having the time to explore ever more imaginative and creative ways of helping to make a liveable future a reality.”

Although it is widely expected that the next election will take place in autumn 2024, the Prime Minister could call the election for as late as January 28, 2025.