Penrith and the Border MP Rory Stewart is to step down after nine and a half years as an MP.

Writing about his decision, which has come after months of public opposition to Boris Johnson and the possibility of a damaging no-deal Brexit under his premiership.

Mr Stewart told his constituents: "Being your Member of Parliament has been the privilege of my life. So much of what I love about Britain lies in Cumbria: our landscape, our farming communities, our deep history and the character of our people.

"I feel it every time I look out of the window at home in Butterwick. And I have felt it again and again since I first walked right around this constituency as a candidate. When I have thought of England, in my most difficult moments in Afghanistan or Iraq, I have thought of this place."

The MP added: "As for the future – I am a public servant to my core and will stay involved in politics, endeavouring to make my voice heard.

"I will, of course, continue to explain why I voted for a Brexit deal, while rejecting a No-Deal Brexit (especially because of the damage it would inflict on Cumbria and sectors such as farming).

"But ultimately I want to move beyond Brexit, and focus on getting things done on the ground. I think our great parties are now in danger of coming apart, and our great parliament is becoming increasingly diminished. I want to show how much difference can still be made outside parliament. So I hope to start work in another part of the country. I would like, if you will allow me, to remain closely involved with Cumbria – as a champion, supporting local charities and communities – not as your Member of Parliament, but I hope as your friend."

His departure comes just a day after he said he would resign if Boris Johnson got a Brexit deal with Brussels.

During his career, Mr Stewart has been prisons minister, and international development secretary.

He also stood as a candidate in the party's fiercely contested leadership election, accusing his pro-Brexit opponents of making unrealistic "unicorn" promises.

Earlier this week, Mr Stewart accused Mr Johnson's supporters of having a "blind faith" in him, and the Prime Minister of moving into a "Trumpian" universe, where he can break promises and not be affected.