A Norfolk MP and former Cabinet minister has announced he is standing down at the next general election

Sir Brandon Lewis, the former chairman of the Conservative party who held a range of senior government posts, has represented Great Yarmouth since 2010.

In a statement, he said: "After much thought and deliberation, I have today notified the Chairman of the Great Yarmouth Conservative Association that I will not be standing as a candidate at the next general election."

"It is not a decision taken easily as it has been the greatest honour of my life to represent the people of Great Yarmouth in Parliament and to work with so many loyal and dedicated campaigners.

"I owe them a monumental debt of gratitude for their support since I was first elected as an MP in 2010, and I am humbled to call many of them my friends."

Eastern Daily Press: Brandon Lewis outside his constituency officeBrandon Lewis outside his constituency office (Image: James Bass)

READ MORE: Great Yarmouth MP Sir Brandon Lewis severance criticised

Among his government posts were justice secretary for two months and two years as Northern Ireland secretary.

"I delivered my first campaign leaflet as a teenager and the Conservative Party has been hugely influential in my life ever since. I have held elected positions for 25 years - starting as a local councillor, then council leader, all the way through to Secretary of State and Lord Chancellor."

Sir Brandon added: "In Great Yarmouth, we have secured new investment for our people and places to the tune of hundreds of millions of pounds.

"Particular highlights have included the rejuvenation of the town centre and a significant capital injection into sea and flood defences."

He also named the opening of the Herring Bridge as a personal highlight.

This comes as several Tory MP's have announced they will not stand at the next time the country goes to polls including former prime minister Theresa May and ex-Chancellor Sajid Javid.

READ MORE: Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis at Windsor Palace ceremony

In recent weeks Sir Brandon was criticised for receiving more than £33,000 in severance payments - after he quit two cabinet posts in a matter of months.

He added: " I will continue to serve my constituents to the very best of my ability until parliament is dissolved.

"I remain steadfast in my support for the Conservative Party and will be out on the campaign trail, helping to deliver a great new Conservative MP for Great Yarmouth and contributing bold policy ideas to secure our country’s future.

Eastern Daily Press: Keir Cozens is Labour's parliamentary candidate in Great Yarmouth. Picture - Keir CozensKeir Cozens is Labour's parliamentary candidate in Great Yarmouth. Picture - Keir Cozens (Image: Keir Cozens)
"A new chapter awaits but as this one closes, I want to thank my family for the unwavering support they have given me over the years. My successes and challenges have also been theirs, and I cannot thank them enough for being by my side through it all."

Keir Cozens, Labour's candidate for Great Yarmouth said: "Regardless of our political differences, Brandon has served Great Yarmouth since 2010, and I thank him for that.

"It is a huge privilege to serve the people of this fantastic community — a privilege that demands full-time commitment and unwavering dedication. The people of Great Yarmouth, Gorleston and the villages deserve nothing less."

Meanwhile, Rishi Sunak has ruled out holding a general election on May 2, when voters are set to go to the polls for the local elections.

The prime minister has previously been reluctant to make definitive statements about the date of the general election, saying only that his “working assumption” was that it would take place in the second half of the year.

But in an interview with ITV News West Country, Mr Sunak definitively ruled out a general election on May 2.

He said: “In several weeks’ time we’ve got elections for police and crime commissioners, for local councils, for mayors across the country – they’re important elections.”

Asked whether there would be a general election on the same day, he said: “There won’t be an election on that day.”