BOURNEMOUTH West MP Sir John Butterfill will quit parliament at the next election, he announced on Monday night.

The Conservative MP - who has represented the town for 25 years - told his constituency party at the weekend that he would not be a candidate again.

He revealed his decision to the Daily Echo after consulting the party's chief whip.

Sir John, 67, had already been selected to defend his 4,031-vote majority over the Liberal Democrats at the next election.

"I would have stayed had there been an election last autumn and was selected to do so," he told the Daily Echo.

But he said it was now clear there would not be a poll before 2010 "by which time I would be in my 70th year".

"If I stayed on for five years I'd be 75 so that was probably a bit long," he said.

He said it had been a great honour to represent Bournemouth West for a quarter of a century.

Sir John entered parliament at Margaret Thatcher's landslide victory in 1983. He has served in a host of Westminster appointments, including as trustee of the parliamentary pension scheme.

He has seen four private member's bills become law. The first was in 1991 and gave greater protection to residents of small care homes. The latest, introduced last year, strengthened the role of mutual financial institutions.

He was parliamentary private secretary to energy secretary Cecil Parkinson and to Northern Ireland secretary Brian Mawhinney.

Tony Blair had him knighted in 2003 for services to parliament.

Sir John had a quadruple bypass operation five years ago but returned to health and fought another election.

He said he now hoped to spend more time with family. "I've now got seven grandchildren with an eighth about to arrive at the end of this month. I'd like to see a bit more of them than I have done with my own children," he added.

He intended to continue his involvement with charities including the Youth Cancer Trust, Streetwise, Fernheath Play Association and the PDSA.

He and his wife Pamela had not decided where they would live after he left Wesminster. But he said they might retire to the countryside near to the constituency.