Former Norwich MP Chloe Smith signed off as a member of parliament by jokingly apologising that next month's General Election was "literally my fault".

Ex-Norwich North MP Conservative Ms Smith was constitution minister in 2021 during a major shake-up when the government scrapped the the Fixed-term Parliaments Act.

Eastern Daily Press: Chloe SmithChloe Smith (Image: PA Wire/PA Images)

That act had set the length of time between general elections at five years and had switched the power to call an early election from the prime minister to MPs.

But Ms Smith, who was first elected in 2009, but is not standing again, oversaw the ditching of that bill, which meant Rishi Sunak was able to call the July 4 election.

Eastern Daily Press: Rishi SunakRishi Sunak

And in her valedictory speech in the House of Commons, a tradition where departing MPs bid farewell, she said: "The first thing I need to say is that it is literally my fault that we are having a snap election, because it was I who legislated for the removal of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, allowing the prime minister to call an election whenever he chose. I am sorry for that emotional rollercoaster."

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Ms Smith thanked Norwich North constituents for "placing their trust" in her five times.

She said: "That makes me the longest-serving member of parliament for either of the two Norwich constituencies in modern times, and I am deeply proud of that."

Ms Smith, who was treated for breast cancer during her time in parliament, thanked colleagues, including fellow Conservative Jo Churchill, for helping her during "tough personal times".

She said she was most proud of her Norwich for Jobs campaign and the passing of the British Sign Language Act.

Ms Smith also revealed one of her near neighbours had mistaken her for Green MP Caroline Lucas.

Eastern Daily Press: Caroline LucasCaroline Lucas

She thanked former prime minister Theresa May, who ran her 2009 by-election campaign and Baroness Shephard, the former North West Norfolk MP, describing her as "my mentor".

Former South Norfolk Tory MP Richard Bacon, who is also standing down, having first been elected in 2001, used part of his speech to push for more progress on self-commissioned homes.

Eastern Daily Press: Richard BaconRichard Bacon (Image: Archant)

That has long been a passion of Mr Bacon's, having authored a review of what would encourage more self-built and custom-built homes.

He said there was "still more to do".

Eastern Daily Press: Sir Brandon LewisSir Brandon Lewis

The third former Norfolk MP not seeking re-election is Great Yarmouth's Sir Brandon Lewis.