Caroline Lucas, the former leader of the Green Party, has announced that she will stand down as an MP at the next election.
In a letter sent to her Brighton Pavilion constituents, Lucas said it had been the “privilege of my life to serve this extraordinary constituency and community”.
In comments first reported by The Argus newspaper in Brighton, Lucas said the “threats to our precious planet” had become “ever more urgent”.
But she said her role in parliament as the Green Party’s only MP meant she had “struggled to spend the time I want on these accelerating crises”.
“I have therefore decided not to stand again as your MP at the next election,” she said.
The 62-year-old was elected as the MP for Brighton Pavilion at the 2010 general election, becoming the first Green Party candidate to be elected to the Commons.
Her majority has increased at the subsequent three elections, with voters returning her to parliament with a majority of almost 20,000 in 2019.
Following the announcement, the Green Party’s co-leaders both praised Lucas.
Carla Denyer said: “Caroline’s impact on politics in this country cannot be overstated: she truly is a force of nature and has been an extraordinary servant of the people of Brighton Pavilion as well as the Green Party. We are so proud of her achievements.
Adrian Ramsay said: “Very few politicians can claim to have changed the course of the national debate in the way Caroline has. She has brought so much to us as a party, shown real integrity in her work and added a crucial dimension to our democracy in this country.
“Having MPs who are genuinely dedicated to standing up for the climate and nature could not be more important than it is right now and that’s why we are striving to get more Green MPs elected at the next general election so that we can build on Caroline’s achievements.”
Lucas was Green Party leader between 2008 and 2012 before returning for a second stint at the helm, this time co-leading the party with Jonathan Bartley for two years from September 2016.