By Rob George Friday 07 September 2012 Updated: 07/09 12:44
PRIME MINISTER David Cameron says Peter Luff has 'left a legacy he can be justifiably proud of' after the MP announced this week he would step down as an MP following more than 20 years in Parliament.
The Conservative MP for Mid-Worcestershire revealed his decision to walk away just hours after leaving his job as Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology in the Government reshuffle on Tuesday (September 4).
And in letters between the two men released on Friday (see below) Mr Cameron thanked Mr Luff for his service in Government and his long-standing contribution to the Conservative Party since he was first elected in 1992.
"I know that this must not have been an easy decision for you to make and one you will have given great thought to. But I can quite understand your reasons for making this decision; one I completely respect," the Prime Minister wrote.
He has held the seat since 1997 and his departure at the next General Election, expected in 2015, will bring the curtain down on 23 years in the House of Commons which began in 1992 when he was first elected as MP for Worcester.
Mr Luff told The Standard he decided to step down during the summer and admitted it was time for him to move on and do something else.
“I hoped to have another year as Defence Minister because it’s a job I have cherished since the Prime Minister asked me to take on the role,” he said.
“To work with the finest our country has to offer, the men and women of our armed forces, has been inspirational.
“But when it became clear this would be a major reshuffle, it was not right for me to remain in a post I did not intend to hold long-term.”
Despite being elected at five successive general elections, Mr Luff said he did not think he would retire in the job.
“I did want to have a spell in Government in my career not only as a minister but also as a backbench MP from where David Cameron and his ministers will enjoy my robust support.
“There is so much I will miss at a local level because what I love is getting hold of the issues and fighting for residents.
“Together, my constituents and I have seen such things as the re-opening of the Droitwich Canals and of the Regal Cinema in Evesham.
“To see the enthusiasm and passion that people involved have bought to these and other challenges has been wonderful,” he added.
Mr Luff also heaped praise on Wychavon District Council and Worcestershire County Council and hailed then as ‘two of the very best councils in the country’
“My wife Julia has run my office throughout this time and she and I want to say a particularly big thank you to the warm
hearted and generous constituents with whom we have worked,” he said.
“In particular I want to thank the local members of my party, who have worked so hard to support me and the Conservative cause.
“There is much more I could say, for now I say simply that there is still more work to be done both locally and nationally and I look forward to doing it,” he added.
PETER LUFF'S RESIGNATION LETTER TO PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON
House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA
5th September 2012
I am very proud to have had the privilege of serving in one of the most interesting jobs in government over the last two and a quarter years. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to play a major part in turning round the Ministry of Defence; to work with our outstanding armed forces and the civilians who support them; and in particular to bring order to the chaos of the defence equipment programme.
It is good to feel confident that my successor will face fewer problems that I did in May 2010, with the equipment programme budget balanced, the armed forces possessing the best equipment they have ever had and a process of underlying structural reform of defence acquisition putting the Department on a much firmer foundation for the future. I am particularly pleased to have been able to underline the importance of both smaller businesses and of science and technology to the future of the nation's defences.
As I explained to you when we met it is my intention to stand down from Parliament at the next election and I think it was right therefore that I should place my office at your disposal for a colleague, particularly given the pressure on ministerial posts in a coalition government. I understand the need to refresh the government and it goes without saying that you have my wholehearted support as you tackle the challenges facing you in the remainder of this Parliament.
With best wishes,
PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON'S REPLY
THE PRIME MINISTER
10 DOWNING STREET
LONDON SWlA 2AA
Wednesday, 5 September 2012
Thank you very much for your kind and supportive letter, resigning from your post as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Defence, and giving me prior notice of your intention to stand down at the next election. I know that this must not have been an easy decision for you to make and one you will have given great thought to. But I can quite understand your reasons for making this decision; one I completely respect.
You have been such a loyal, dedicated and committed colleague over the past two and a half years in Government and it has been a joy to work with you. You have brought so much to our team, so I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude for the service you have given in Government, and moreover, your longstanding contribution to the Conservative Party since you were first elected in 1992.
As Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State you have played a vital role in bringing the defence equipment programme under control and in successfully making the case for real growth in the equipment budget beyond 2015. You have made much progress in strengthening defence cooperation with our key allies, especially France. And you have been a real champion of the defence science and technology programme, which remains vital to ensure our Armed Forces retain, in the long term, a technological edge over potential adversaries.
Along with your Ministerial colleagues in the Ministry of Defence, you have had to grapple with one of the worst inheritances from the previous Government. The Strategic Defence and Security Review and the 2012 Planning Round involved some extremely tough decisions. But they were necessary decisions in which you played an important role. You leave the Department, and our remarkable Armed Forces, with a much more coherent and sustainable forward programme and able to look to the future with a greater sense of certainty and confidence.
I would also like to take this opportunity to recognise your contribution to our Party over so many years - indeed, since before you were elected to the House. It is remarkable to think that your first advisory position for the Party was in the late seventies, and your hard work and support has not stopped since.
As the representative for Worcester, and since 1997 Mid Worcestershire, you have always put your constituents first, standing up for their interests in Parliament and fighting for the causes you are most passionate about. It is a reflection of your dedication to your constituency, and to public service more widely, that you have increased your majority in Mid Worcestershire at every General Election, and left a legacy you can be justifiably proud of.
Finally, I would like to thank you for the loyalty and support you have always given me personally. You were one of my very early supporters when I stood for the Party leadership in 2005, and that is something I will not forget. I hope that I can continue to count on your support from the backbenches and that you will always feel able to raise any issue with me at any time.
I wish you and Julia all the very best for the future.
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