I have received many messages from constituents in response to my announcement earlier this week that I will not be standing at the next General Election.
All those who have been kind enough to get in touch have said some generous things, whether they have supported me through the ballot box or not. I have been very touched by these messages.
I made my decision not to seek re-election, not because I do not enjoy my role - in fact I love it; not because I am exhausted - in fact I am fit; not because I fear losing the election - in fact I believe the Conservatives under Rishi Sunak will win the next election.
By chance or not I have tended to lead my working life in ten-year chunks. I have been the Parliamentary Spokesman for the Ludlow constituency for over 20 years and by the next election will have served almost 20 years as your Member of Parliament. I spent nearly 10 years on the frontbench and will have spent 10 years on the backbenches, half of which as Chairman of the Environmental Audit Committee.
I was 46 when first elected as your MP. I shall be 65 in August. I would hope to have a further 10 years ahead of me when I can continue to be active.
But the role of an MP requires a level of energy and commitment, both in helping the thousands of constituents each year and in campaigning in Parliament and beyond on vital issues to improve our country.
I have come to the conclusion that I cannot be confident that I will be able to maintain the work rate and motivate myself and others to the level which the role requires during the whole of the next Parliament, when I shall enter my 70s.
I owe it to you my constituents to be straightforward about my rationale.
I have been fortunate to have received phenomenal support from so many people across South Shropshire during my time as your MP. I shall continue to serve to the best of my ability until this Parliament is dissolved by the Prime Minister.
It has been the honour of my life to have been the MP for the Ludlow constituency. I am hugely grateful to all those who entrusted me with this role.