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Don Foster to quit as Liberal Democrat MP at next election | Politics …

Don Foster

Don Foster, a former science teacher, has served as MP for Bath since 1992. Photograph: Dave Thompson/PA

The announcement that Don Foster1, the Lib Dem chief whip, will stand down at the next election means one in nine of his party’s MPs will not be seeking re-election in 2015.

Foster, who is MP for Bath, said it had been a very difficult decision after more than two decades in the Commons. He joins a growing list of departing Lib Dems, who now include the former children’s minister Sarah Teather, the former party leader Sir Menzies Campbell, the former agriculture minister David Heath, Sir Malcolm Bruce, and Annette Brooke. The exits mark a growing problem for Nick Clegg, whose party is trailing in the polls and will now no longer have the advantage of an incumbent in six current Lib Dem seats.

The Bath seat is likely to be a target for the Tories, although Foster leaves a healthy majority of almost 12,000. Last night, Clegg said Foster leaves “big shoes to fill” after five election victories in Bath, including ousting the former Conservative chairman Lord Patten in 1992. “Don has been an outstanding MP and will be hugely missed by his constituents and his colleagues in parliament.

His energy, humour and tenacity are unrivalled and I have seen first-hand Don’s tireless efforts to serve Bath as an MP and Britain as a minister. Foster, a 66-year-old former science teacher, has served as the party’s media spokesman and a communities minister under the coalition. “After what will have been 23 wonderful years, this has been a very difficult decision to make,” he said. “It has been an enormous privilege since 1992 to serve the people of this great city through five parliamentary sessions.

“However, my task is not over. There are 17 months before the next election. I have every intention of continuing to do all I can to work with and for local people.

I will do my utmost to ensure that Bath continues to grow from strength to strength as a great place in which to live and work.”


  1. ^ More from the Guardian on Don Foster (

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