Bromsgrove MP Julie Kirkbride has finally decided to stand down at the next general election after heavy criticism of her expenses claims, she has announced.

The backbencher had been reconsidering her initial plan to quit, which she disclosed in a letter to party leader David Cameron in May after getting caught up in the expenses scandal.

But Ms Kirkbride informed her Bromsgrove constituents that she would not be fighting the next election after all.

It is understood that she discussed the issue recently with Mr Cameron.

In a Christmas message on her website, Ms Kirkbride said: "I want to take this opportunity to confirm to you, my constituents, that I will not be representing you all after the next general election.

"I am sad to be leaving but this is entirely my decision. I would like to wish my association the very best of luck as they find my successor in the new year."

Ms Kirkbride would have been a likely target of protest over the expenses row had she stood again at the next election.

She was embroiled in the scandal along with her husband, fellow Tory MP Andrew Mackay.

Ms Kirkbride claimed thousands of pounds against their family home in her Worcestershire constituency, while Mr Mackay claimed on the property they shared in London.

He represents Bracknell in Berkshire but has no base there. He has also decided to stand down at the election.