Former MP Rendel says he will not stand in next general election
Signalling the end of a political era, Mr Rendel, aged 63, of Thatcham, said he will not put his name forward for the selection of Prospective Parliamentary Candidates to fight the Newbury seat.
He sat as Newbury MP from 1993 until 2005, and was only the third non-Conservative MP in the history of the constituency, the first for 71 years.
He said the expected date of the general election would clash with the four-yearly election of councillors for West Berkshire Council and did not feel it credible to stand for both.
“I am very grateful to the many Liberal Democrat members and supporters who have urged me to go forward for the Parliamentary Candidate selection, and I am sorry to have to disappoint them,” he said.
“With the Labour party effectively out of the battle, Newbury will be one of our best chances of making a Parliamentary gain in 2015.
“ But I know there will be several excellent candidates who will relish the chance of fighting the Parliamentary seat here.
"Meanwhile I want to leave myself free to offer to fight a council seat in 2015, to help the Liberal Democrats regain control of the council as well as the Parliamentary seat.”
Mr Rendel stormed into power following a by-election victory in 1993 triggered by the death of the then-MP Judith Chaplin.
It was the year in which the ruling Conservative party’s rating was at an all-time low due to the economic fiasco of Black Wednesday and a failed relaunch campaign by Prime Minister John Major.
Huge frustration at the Government contributed to a huge majority of 22,055, and Mr Rendel went on to win the next two elections before being defeated by the current Conservative MP for Newbury, Richard Benyon.
Newburytoday.co.uk understands there will be four candidates put forward to contest the seat, Judish Bunting, a freelance TV producer; Bruce Tennent, a Hampshire county councillor, and two as yet unnamed candidates.