FOREIGN Secretary and MP for Hawes William Hague has announced he will not stand for election in 2015.
He has also became Leader of the House of Commons as part of a government reshuffle.
His successor in his Richmond constituency, which includes Wensleydale, is not likely to be selected for a couple of months.
Rotherham-born Hague, 53, gained fame in 1977 as a teenage speaker at a Tory party conference in the days of Margaret Thatcher.
He became the party’s youngest Conservative MP, in 1989 and leader of the party at the age of 36 after the Labour landslide in 1997.
He resigned after the Tories were drubbed in 2001.
MORE TOP STORIES:
- Reward put up to find horse attackers in south Cumbria
- Caravan driver damages cars and fails to stop in Ulverston
- Sheep thieves prompt alert
- Brooke’s treble for different trainers
This week, his agent, Matthew Vickers, speaking from the Richmondshire Conservatives in Northallerton, said: “It’s obviously very disappointing. We’ve had a massive response with people ringing with their messages of support.”
“I think William has been one of the wittiest, intelligent, quick-witted and hardest working parliament-arians that we could have dreamt of.”
One of his major campaigns in Hawes was winning protection for Wensleydale Cheese.
His constituency covers a vast swathe of rural North Yorkshire, including Wensleydale and Swaledale.
The reshuffle also saw the departure of Owen Paterson from the post of Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
In May, Shropshire-born Mr Paterson visited the Junction 36 Auction Mart and met local farmer John Geldard, of Low Foulshaw, Levens, who is also chairman of the National Sheep Association.
Mr Geldard said: “He has to have been the best Secretary of State in my 40-year career.
“It’s disappointing because he’s only done two years in office.
“He demonstrated a very clear understanding as to how he wanted to grow the economy and agriculture and food were part of that.
“For people like myself as chairman of NSA, when you see ministers move positions, it’s always a dilemma because you have to start again and build a working relationship.”
Mr Geldard hopes to arrange a meeting with Mr Paterson’s successor, the 38-year-old Oxford-educated Liz Truss, who represents South West Norfolk.