David Heath: Representing my community has been a great privilege
AS some will know, on Friday I announced that I would not be seeking re-election as member of parliament at the next election.
For me it means calling time on what has been the purpose and what has occupied my time for half of my life, so it is perhaps natural that I found it hard to keep my emotions in check.
In fact I promised my wife at the time of the last election that this would be the last campaign I would fight.
People do not recognise the pressure, not on a politician but on their immediate family, of effectively being on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
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There is also the question of age. I was first elected as a county councillor in 1985, and that means by the time of the next election I will have represented Frome and Somerset in public office for 30 years, the last 18 as MP.
Will I miss it? You bet. I can't think of a greater privilege than being able to represent your own community in parliament.
But I've got 18 months to go, and I will use those to the best of my abilities to speak up for Somerset. Then what? No idea, but I'm hoping there's something worthwhile I can do.
It just won't be as member of parliament for Somerton and Frome.