Watford's MP Richard Harrington has announced he will step down at the next general election.

The Conservative former business minister, who resigned as a minister to vote against a no-deal Brexit, made the revelation this afternoon.

In a statement released after the Watford Observer went to press, he said: "Having had the privilege of serving as MP for Watford for almost ten years, I have decided to retire from frontline politics.

"It had always been my intention to step down at the next general election, due under the Fixed Term Parliament Act in 2022. However, with the current increasing uncertainty about an earlier election, I believe it right for me to make clear my intentions now.

"Therefore I have told my constituency chairman that I will not be offering myself for selection as the Conservative Party candidate for the next general election, whenever that may be.

"Until then, I shall continue to devote myself to serving all my constituents - as I have done since they first elected me in 2010.

"In that general election we Conservatives took what was then a closely contested three-way marginal seat from Labour. I am proud that we subsequently held the seat in the general elections of 2015 and 2017 and I give my sincere thanks to voters for the confidence they have shown in me.

"Being MP for Watford has allowed me to meet so many people from visiting schools, businesses, charities and other organisations and groups. I have learned a great deal from them. I will continue to offer my support for such community groups in the future, and will do my best to help my successor, in whatever way I can."

The former business minister has consistently voted for Brexit, but campaigned vociferously against a no-deal Brexit, which he warns will put thousands of jobs at risk.

He this week said he is “not in favour” of the decision to suspend Parliament in September, and that it makes a no-deal Brexit more likely.

Mr Harrington's relationship with the town's Conservative Association had been questioned amid rumours of attempts by Leave.EU activists to have him deselected.

The Guido Fawkes political blog reported in July after the association's three permanent staff resigned to take jobs with a professional campaign group set up by Mr Harrington.

Speaking to the Observer, Mr Harrington said a few members had "not been helpful at all" and were "obsessed with Brexit" but that there was no 'them and us'.

But he denied he had "stolen the association" after reports that members left without access to its office, records, website, email and social media accounts.

The MP never revealed who he voted for in the recent Conservative leadership contest but said he wished Boris Johnson "the very best of luck".