A LONG-STANDING Tory MP will not contest the next general election after 18 years in the job.

John Horam MP has represented the Orpington constituency since 1992, and has successfully contested his parliamentary seat four times.

But confirming his retirement to the Orpington Conservative Association on Friday (October 9), the 70-year-old said: “It has been a great honour and pleasure representing Orpington, but I will have done the job for 18 years by the next election.

“It is time for someone else to take over.”

Mr Horam began his political career as a member of the Labour party, before briefly joining the Social Democratic Party.

The president of Orpington Football Club then became a Tory in 1987, where he has campaigned to protect the green belt and for more police to deal with anti-social behaviour.

Speaking to News Shopper, he said: "I will miss meeting people from all walks of life, and I will miss the friends that you make in the job.

“It is an exciting period for the Conservatives but sometimes you have to think about your party and not yourself.

“It is a good time for someone new to represent the party in Orpington.”

He added: “It will seem strange watching the next general election and not actually taking part.”

Mr Horam’s retirement plans come just weeks after Beckenham’s MP Jacqui Lait announced she is also set to stand down at the next general election, expected next year.

In her official letter to Tony Power, the chairman for the Beckenham Constituency Association, she said: “With the prospect of a Conservative government after the next election, I have for some months now been considering whether it might be time for me to move over for a younger person.”

Mr Horam is currently a member of the House of Commons select committee on foreign affairs.