ANDOVER MP Sir George Young has stood down as government chief whip.

Sir George, who is 72, and a veteran of the Thatcher and Major governments in the 80s and 90s, has already said he will not be seeking re-election at next May's general election.

He has now revealed that he advised David Cameron that he wanted to stand down as chief whip more than a month ago.

He released the text of a letter sent to the Prime Minister.

It reads 'When we met at No 10 on 12th June, I said I would like to stand down as Chief Whip when you next reshuffled the Government.

After completing two and a half years as Leader of the House in 2012, I had no idea I would be asked back in to the Government so soon, to take over the Whips’ Office from Andrew Mitchell.

It has been a real pleasure to help put the Government’s legislative programme on the statute book and to lead a first rate team of Conservative Whips, ably supported by my special adviser, my principal private secretary and the entire team in the Government Whips’ Office.

I believe the parliamentary party is now in a better shape, with morale high, as we gear up for the next election.

Since re-joining the Government, I have announced my decision to retire from Parliament at the next election. Therefore given the wide range of talent on the backbenches, I believe it makes sense for me to leave the Government now and to allow others to have the chance I had, when I first joined the Whips’ Office in 1976.

I look forward to supporting the Coalition Government from the backbenches for the remaining months of this Parliament.'

Former education minister Michael Gove will now take on the role of chief whip.