Sir Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat MP who represents North East Fife in the House of Commons, announced today he will not stand for re-election in 2015. Campbell has represented the constituency since 1987 and also served briefly as party leader between March 2006 and October 2007.
Commenting, he said it was an “enormous privilege” to represent “such a wonderful constituency as North East Fife”. He continued: “My wife and I have made many friends and have been supported by constituents of all political persuasions and none. It is always a regret to begin the process of retiring from the House of Commons but I believe now is the time to start.”
Nick Clegg, the UK’s Deputy Prime Minister and the present leader of the Liberal Democrats, said Campbell’s retirement was “a sad day for me, my party and British politics as a whole”, and that he had “relied for a long time on Ming’s enormous wisdom and knowledge”.
He added that it “been a great honour to succeed Sir Menzies as the leader of the Liberal Democrats”.
Neither commented on the future of Campbell’s seat, now potentially thrown into jeopardy. Though regarded as a safe seat for the party, recent polling commissioned by Lord Ashcroft suggested North East Fife could be lost to the SNP, which holds the corresponding constituency in the Scottish Parliament. A new candidate could deliver a further blow to the party’s prospects.
There is also some speculation that Campbell will be invited to sit in the House of Lords after he leaves the House of Commons.