Under-pressure Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley is to stand down at next year’s general election.
Mr Ruffley, who serves areas including Bacton and Old Newton, Gislingham and Rickinghall, has had his future called into question after he accepted a police caution for common assault on his former partner in March.
A member of the Commons Treasury select committee, he says he will not stand for re-election in May.
In a letter to the chairman of the Bury St Edmunds Conservative Association Andrew Speed, Mr Ruffley said the “protracted media debate” over his private life would not serve the “wider interests” of the party.
It read: “It has been the greatest privilege of my life to serve the wonderful people of Bury St Edmunds as their constituency Member of Parliament since 1997. It is an area I have come to love and am proud to call my home.
“I will never forget the way the constituency stood by me while I recovered from a particularly difficult period of ill health four years ago. Equally I have been enormously grateful for the kindness and generosity of spirit shown to me in recent weeks by so many constituents and most of all for the loyal support from the tremendous members of the Bury St Edmunds Conservative Association.
“However, the next general election will be critical to our country’s future and I am absolutely committed to seeing David Cameron returned as Prime Minister at the head of a Conservative majority Government.
“Nothing is more important. Sadly, although I have apologised for a very regrettable incident last March and both my former partner and I considered the matter closed, I have recently come to the conclusion that a protracted media debate on my private life, whatever the motivation or however misinformed, will not serve the wider interest of the Conservative cause in East Anglia. Nor at a human level, am I prepared to continue to sustain the unrelenting orchestrated intrusion into my personal life.
“Last September I was, as you know, honoured and delighted to be reselected by the Bury St Edmunds Conservative Association once again to be your parliamentary candidate at the next general election.
“It is, therefore, with a very heavy heart that I wish to inform you that I will not stand again at the general election in May 2015.
“Finally, may I say how much I have appreciated your steadfast loyalty and friendship over these difficult few weeks and assure you of my own unwavering support for you and the association in the months and years ahead.”