FORMER Newbury MP David Rendel will not be fighting a general election - for the first time in 28 years - when the country goes to the polls in 2015.

The Lib Dem spokesman and former MP, who has stood for the Newbury seat in every election since 1987, announced today that he will be standing aside as his party's candidate.

Speaking today, 63-year-old Mr Rendel said: "It now seems very unlikely that there will be any change in the expected date of the general election - the first Thursday in May 2015.

"Unfortunately for me, this will be the same day as the four-yearly election for the councillors on West Berkshire Council.

"I do not think it would be credible to stand for both the council and the parliamentary seat at the same time in the same place."

Mr Rendel was elected Newbury MP in May 1993, with a majority of 22,055 - the largest Liberal or Liberal Democrat Westminster majority in history.

He won again in the 1997 and 2001 general elections, but lost out to Tory Richard Benyon in 2005, ending the town's 12 years as a Liberal Democrat constituency, and was unable to prevent him retaining the seat in 2010

Thatcham councillor Mr Rendel, the only leading Lib Dem to vote "no" to a coalition in 2010, added: "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.

"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."