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Thanet South MP Laura Sandys to stand down at next general election because of 'wide range of family demands'

Thanet South MP Laura Sandys
Thanet South MP Laura Sandys

Thanet South MP Laura Sandys says she has to decided not to stand as a candidate at the next election, citing personal reasons.

She revealed the news today, saying that she had been considering her future for several months.

In a statement on her website, she said: "It is with great sadness and regret that I wish to announce that I will not be standing at the next general election in 2015.

"For the last six months I have been considering my future in light of a wide range of family demands and have decided that I cannot combine the level of dedication and service needed for the constituency with my growing personal responsibilities to those closest and dearest to me."

The statement added: "It has been a difficult and heart-wrenching decision to make as there is no greater honour and privilege than representing the constituents of South Thanet.

"The people of South Thanet are an inspiration to me with their dedication to our communities, their strength, their steadfastness and their sense of identity. I want to thank all those who have worked with me to ensure that we are getting the best for our local towns and villages."

She said she would continue to work tirelessly for the constituency until the 2015 election.

"These years working and living in South Thanet have been the most memorable of my life. I hope that I have been able to repay what you have given me with some lasting benefits that will improve the future life and prosperity of all our residents."

Richard Rowson, chairman of the South Thanet Conservative Association, said: "I am very sorry indeed that for family and personal reasons Laura Sandys has decided not to seek re-election in 2015.

"This will be a great loss to South Thanet where Laura has already achieved a huge amount for the constituency and for countless individuals and local businesses, and will continue to do so until the next election."

Sir Roger Gale
Sir Roger Gale

In 2012, Ms Sandys revealed she had epilepsy and in an effort to boost the profile of her condition, climbed Big Ben with a fellow MP who also has the condition.

She also chairs the all-party group on epilepsy and has often spoken out about the discrimination faced by those with the condition.

She was elected in 2010, taking the seat from Labour's Steve Ladyman with a majority of 7,617.

Roger Gale MP, who represents Thanet North, paid tribute to his colleague: "As a parliamentary colleague and neighbour Laura has been a delight to work with.

"She has made herself a part of the local community and hers will be a very hard act for the next Conservative MP to follow but she leaves a legacy of achievement for her successor to build upon and I know that both she and I will continue to work together to ensure that the fruits of her hard work are followed through."

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