Gordon Brown's office has insisted he has no plans to stand down as MP, but stopped short of saying he would fight the next General Election.

The former prime ­minister's spokesman said he would remain an MP and had "no plans to make any announcement to the contrary".

It followed reports Mr Brown had told friends he was planning to give up his Westminster seat in 2015. Speculation has surrounded the former Labour leader's future since he left Downing Street in 2010.

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His predecessor, Tony Blair, remained an MP for only a few months after stepping down.

By contrast, after she was no longer Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher returned to the back benches for two years before leaving Parliament at the next election.

Since leaving No 10 Mr Brown has combined his job as a constituency MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath with a role as the UN special envoy for global education.

He raised eyebrows earlier this year by describing himself as an "ex-politician" during a conference in the Gulf state of Qatar.

l Veteran Labour MP Austin Mitchell is to step down at the next election from his Greater Grimsby seat after almost 37 years.