HARLOW MP Robert Halfon will be stepping down after almost 14 years in the role, he has announced.

Mr Halfon wrote to the prime minister, Rishi Sunak, on Tuesday to advise him he will be stepping down at the next general election.

He has also resigned from his ministerial role in the Department for Education.

He wrote: “Almost 24 years ago, in November 1999, I was selected to be the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Harlow.

“It was a long road to getting elected; battling three general elections to eventually win in 2010 with a majority of almost 5,000, increasing to over 14,000 over the past 14 years.

“As MP, I have done everything possible to work for Harlow. I have been honoured to have served as the chair of the Education Select Committee, as deputy chairman of the party, attend cabinet, and most recently, under [Rishi Sunak’s] premiership, be proudly appointed once again as the minister for skills, apprenticeships and higher education.”

He thanked the education secretary, Gillian Keegan, who he called a “true believer and trailblazer in apprenticeships and boosting skills education”.

“I believe that across the country, there is a quiet admiration for your work ethic, integrity and solve complex problems faced by our country,” he told the prime minister.

“I look forward to continuing to wholeheartedly support you from the backbenches in the weeks and months ahead, at the upcoming election, and of course, to spending my remaining time as an MP championing Harlow.”

The prime minister said Mr Halfon has made an “important contribution” to public life.

He wrote: “I know that the people of Harlow will be saddened to lose you as their MP, after years of loyal and selfless service.

“You have made an outstanding impact on bettering the lives of thousands of your constituents.

“Some of your key local achievements will be remembered for many years to come, including securing record investment to regenerate Harlow town centre, championing the local economy by creating thousands of jobs and supporting the community during the pandemic.”

Mr Baron joins three of his Conservative colleagues in Essex – Will Quince (Colchester), Sir James Duddridge (Rochford and Southend East), and John Baron (Basildon and Billericay) – in stepping down at the next election.