THE man who served Worcestershire as an MP for 23 years has looked backed on his time in politics - speaking of his immense pride.

Sir Peter Luff, who stepped down from the Commons just before the General Election, has told your Worcester News he doesn't regret a moment of his lengthy career.

The 60-year-old, who represented Worcester from 1992 to 1997 and then Mid-Worcestershire until this spring, is now up and running in a new role as the chairman of the body overseeing the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Sir Peter, a father-of-two, served as a defence minister for David Cameron from 2010 to 2012 and was knighted in the 2014 New Year Honours for 'political and public service' in a fitting last few years in parliament.

He has paid his own tribute to county's people, saying they give him optimism for Worcestershire's future.

"The people of Worcestershire were very kind, very generous, very appreciate of what an MP does," he said.

"They are not at all strident, they are very moderate in their outlook and it was wonderful to be their MP.

"It really was quite something. If my 18-year-old self had looked at this, looked at the career I'd had, they'd have said 'what an amazing experience'."

He says he feels he owes his family an apology after putting up with his life as an MP for so long.

Son Oliver, now 27, is a video engineer and still lives in Worcester while daughter Rosy, 29, works in public affairs as an arts lobbyist in London.

Sir Peter's wife Julia agreed to become his office manager when he was first elected, an arrangement that remained until the end.

"I'd say 'sorry to my family' - I just wasn't around very much, I wasn't there when the kids were growing up," he said.

"I always insisted on having a long, three-week holiday every year because the rest of the year, it was pretty hard on us as a family.

"The job is so intense."

The Cambridge economics graduate, who headed up former Prime Minister Ted Heath's private office for two years from 1980, also worked as a parliamentary researcher for former Worcester MP Lord Walker and ran Good Relations Ltd, a public affairs firm, before beating 269 other candidates to become Worcester's MP in 1997.

When the boundaries were redrawn in 1997 he decided to jump ship to Mid-Worcestershire, sensing the Tony Blair factor would have resulted in a Worcester defeat, and managed that move successfully, ousting former Tory education minister Eric Forth, who was de-selected in one of the most brutal battles of his career.

He said it is impossible to single out his proudest moment - listing the restoration of the Droitwich canal, the turnaround for Evesham's now-flourishing Regal Cinema, the Wyre Piddle bypass and latterly, lobbying so hard for Worcestershire Parkway that a £22 million facility is now due to finally open in Norton in 2017.

He stopped a controversial asylum centre from being built at Throckmorton airfield after 1997, saying he was adamant "you can't just dump 1,500 asylum seekers in the Middle of the English countryside", lobbying the Home Office to change tack, which it did.

He got the Government to update its legislation so art, music and drama students at accredited study centres, like drama schools, get the same treatment as university students in being able to access grants and then loans.

And as defence minister, where he managed a yearly spend of £14 billion, he produced a White Paper so spending on science and technology was protected at 1.2 per cent of the overall Ministry of Defence budget.

Now with his feet under the table at the Heritage Lottery Fund, he's got one message for the current county MPs tasking with driving Worcestershire forward post the Sir Peter-era.

"Never take the constituents for granted," he said.

"The people of Worcestershire deserve these seats to be treated as marginals.

"It's a young person's job, and it's right for me to step down. They've got to take it on now."