Balsham and Linton MP Sir Jim Paice to step down

Newmarket Journal -  October 2011''Jim Paice MP pours a pint during his shift behind the bar at the Tharp Arms in Chippenham.
Newmarket Journal - October 2011''Jim Paice MP pours a pint during his shift behind the bar at the Tharp Arms in Chippenham.

South East Cambridgeshire MP Sir Jim Paice will step down from his role at the next general election.

Sir Jim, who has been the area’s MP since 1987 and whose constituency includes Balsham and Linton, will not contest his seat at the next election.

He was the Farming Minister for two years but was axed as part of David Cameron’s cabinet reshuffle in September, after which he gained his knighthood.

Speaking to his constituency party on March 8, Sir Jim said: “I have been fortunate to represent a wonderful constituency for what will be almost 28 years by the next election.

“It has always been at the forefront of economic growth in the UK whilst retaining much of what is great about our country.

“I have also been privileged to serve in two Governments including as the Minister of Agriculture which had long been my ambition.

“It has been an incredibly exciting and rewarding life, but if I go on I am committing myself into my 70’s which I do not believe would be right.

“I think now that it is time for the Conservative Party in South East Cambridgeshire to look to someone else to carry their hopes and aspirations over the coming years.”

Sir Jim has represented the South East Cambridgeshire constituency since 1987 being elected for a sixth term in 2010 with a majority of 5,946.

He born in Felixstowe and attended Framlingham College and then Writtle Agricultural College after which he started a career in farm management.

In his youth and early twenties Sir Jim was active in the Young Farmers movement, becoming chairman of the Agricultural Policy Committee of the National Federation and representing the UK on the European Council of Young Farmers.

Upon entering Parliament he served on the Select Committee for Employment before being appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Baroness Trumpington at the Ministry of Agriculture in 1989, then promoted to PPS to John Gummer as Minister of Agriculture and then Secretary of State for the Environment.

In 1994 he was appointed Under Secretary of State at the Department of Employment and in 1995 at the Department of Education and Employment.

After the General Election of 1997 Sir Jim was appointed Opposition Spokesman on Agriculture and remained on the front bench until 2012.

Following the 2001 General Election, Sir Jim was appointed Shadow Minister for Police.

Then in September 2004 he was promoted to Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Rural Affairs - a position he retained until the General Election in 2010.

In the General Election in 2010 Sir Jim was re-elected for a sixth term as MP for South East Cambridgeshire.

From 2010-2012 he served as Minister of State for Agriculture and Food in the Coalition Government.

Now on the backbenches he still maintains a keen interest in the agricultural world and serves on the Scottish Affairs Select Committee.

For all the latest news see Thursday’s (March 21) Echo.