The former human rights lawyer said he was giving up his Kilmarnock & Loudoun seat, which he holds with a majority of 8703 over the SNP, “with some reluctance”, but planned a new career in conflict resolution and nuclear disarmament.

Earlier this year, he was appointed as a special envoy to Sri Lanka,.

Mr Browne said: “I have decided that it is time for me to move on. Those who know me best know that it has always been my plan to seek further challenges outside Parliament, and the time has come for me to put that plan into action.

“Since I stepped down from the Government, I have had the opportunity to use my knowledge and expertise to work on multilateral disarmament and conflict resolution.

“I want to give much more of myself to this work in coming years; therefore I have decided to stand down at the next election.

In anticipation of a second career in academia and the diplomatic circuit, Browne last month launched the Top Level Group of UK parliamentarians for multilateral nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

Elected in 1997, Browne was promoted to a ministerial post at the Department of Work and Pensions in 2003, followed by stints at the Home Office and Treasury, before being made Defence Secretary in 2006.

The following year he was given the additional role of Scottish Secretary.