VETERAN Tory Ken Clarke, 73, has announced that he will stand at the next General Election, while ­speculation is mounting that his Liberal Democrat contemporary, Sir Menzies Campbell, 72, will shortly announce he will not.

The former Chancellor, who is now Minister Without Portfolio, has been formally adopted as the Conservative candidate for Rushcliffe near Nottingham at the 2015 ­election after informing fellow Tories of his "continuing enthusiasm for life in Parliament".

The father-of-two, first elected in 1970 has held numerous frontbench roles.

He said: "There are lots of ambitious people who would like to be the next MP for Rushcliffe or the candidate for Rushcliffe and ask about my well-being and health. And there's been speculation in the press. It's bound to at my age.

"My wife Gillian is prepared for me to do it again. She probably thinks that having me hanging around the house complaining about the politics instead of participating wouldn't be a great improvement."

The popular, blokeish, ­pro-Europe MP added of his potential re-election: "I'll be 74 and in the mid-term of my career.

"I'm surprised to find myself still doing it.

"I'm a bit of a political anorak and I find politics are as fascinating as I ever did."

Meanwhile Sir Menzie, who led his party between 2006 and 2007, is believed to be seriously considering ending his career as the MP for North East Fife, which he began in 1987, at the next General Election.

Senior party sources have pointed out that, if he was re-elected, the veteran MP would be in his 80th year by 2020 and the next election.

Last night, he said he had been ruminating over the decision and had not yet made up his mind.