A longstanding Conservative MP has announced that he will not be standing at the next general election.

Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, made the announcement this afternoon just before 5.30pm.

Mr Loughton, who has been in his seat for 27 years, said it has been “a particular joy to represent the people of Sussex” but felt it was the right time for him to move on.

The 61-year-old joins Conservative MP for Crawley Henry Smith and Green MP for Brighton Pavilion Caroline Lucas in not running for the next general election.

The Argus: Tim Loughton has been an MP since 1997Tim Loughton has been an MP since 1997

Mr Loughton said in a letter: “It has been a great honour to have served as the first Member of Parliament for the newly created East Worthing and Shoreham constituency since 1997.

“With the help of a fantastic local party association, we have fought seven general elections successfully. By the time of the next one I will have spent more than 27 years in Parliament.

“After much reflection I have decided that now is the right time for me to move on and hand over to someone new. As former cabinet minister John Biffen appropriately put it ‘in politics I think it is wiser to leave five minutes too soon than to continue for five years too long’.

“I hope that whoever you select to succeed me will enjoy a similarly friendly and fulfilling relationship with the many constituents and local organisation it has been my privilege to stand up for at Westminster. It has been a particular joy to be able to represent the people of Sussex where I was born, grew up and have lived almost all my life.

“I hope my successor will be true to Sussex and to all it stands for as I will always be.”

Data website YouGov forecast that Labour would take over the East Worthing and Shoreham seat at the next general election with 45 per cent of votes compared to 28 per cent for the Tories.

Mr Loughton, originally from Eastbourne, highlighted his work in helping establish the Ropetackle Arts Centre in Shoreham and said his “greatest pride” was as shadow minister and then minister for Children for more than 12 years.

He also made a pointed remark towards the Labour controlled councils in Brighton and Worthing.

Mr Loughton said: "With Adur the only remaining Conservative controlled council in Sussex it is vital we continue to work hard as a team to prevent Adur going the same way as our neighbours with the chaos and impending bankruptcy overshadowing Labour controlled Brighton and Worthing councils on our borders."

Worthing Borough Council previously hit back at claims that it is at risk of bankruptcy over the size of its debt while Brighton and Hove City Council which was predicted to have a funding gap of more than £25 million for the 2024/25 financial year.