The man at the centre of contempt motions in the Ontario legislature over the province's gas plant scandal is getting out of politics.

Energy Minister Chris Bentley, long seen as an heir apparent to Premier Dalton McGuinty, is not going to enter his party's leadership race and won't seek re-election.

Bentley, 56, said the controversy over closed power plants in Mississauga and Oakville is not behind his decision.

He took the full force of opposition attacks for the cancellations, which were decided upon before he became energy minister.

NDP energy critic Peter Tabuns said Friday he believes the power plant controversy was a key factor in Bentley's decision to leave politics.

"[Bentley] paid a very high price for the premier's decision about the gas plants," said Tabuns. "Chris was thrown under the bus by the premier and it led to him deciding to change his career path."

Bentley's announcement comes on the heels of Finance Minister Dwight Duncan's decision to leave politics.

McGuinty resigned and prorogued the legislature earlier this month in the face of a contempt of parliament motion against Bentley over the failure to release all the documents linked to the power plant closings.