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  1. ITV Report

Don Foster to step down as an MP

Don Foster has been MP for Bath since 1992 Photo: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

Bath's long-serving Liberal Democrat MP, Don Foster, is to stand down at the next General Election. He has finally ended the speculation about his future after months of keeping everyone guessing.

He is currently 66, meaning that he'd be 73 by the end of his next term if re-elected. So the decision to step down - following similar moves by other senior Lib Dems - should not really be a surprise.

His victory in 1992 was a landmark as he defeated the then Conservative Party chairman Chris Patten (now Lord Patten, chair of the BBC Trustees). He's comfortably held it ever since - and at the last election had a sizeable majority of 11,883.

Don Foster celebrates after his General Elecrtion victory in 1992 Credit: ITV News West Country

Hard-working and popular, Mr Foster held a number of senior posts for the Lib Dems in opposition, notably at education (he's a former teacher) and Culture, Media and Sport. When the party went into coalition government, he did not immediately get a job, but was finally promoted (at the age of 65!) to became a local government minister. He's now the Lib Dems' chief whip.

His departure leaves the Lib Dems with the tricky task of finding a new candidate who can get established in a relatively short space of time before May 2015. Historically this seat has mainly been a battle between the Lib Dems and the Conservatives, and some of Mr Foster's large majority was a reflection of his experience and personal following. He'll be a hard act to follow.