Jay Hill, the Conservative government's House leader and veteran MP for the British Columbia riding of Prince George-Peace River, will not seek re-election in the next federal vote, his office says in a statement.

Hill's departure leaves a key position in Prime Minister Stephen Harper's cabinet and is likely to prompt speculation of a summer shuffle.


Government House leader Jay Hill was first elected as an MP in 1993. ((Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press))

Hill, 57, informed the board of directors for his riding association of his decision after a meeting Tuesday night in Fort St. John, B.C., the statement said.

"I've always felt that for politicians the time to go is when things are still going well … when you’ve reached the crest of the hill, but before starting down the other side. For me that time is now," Hill said in the statement.

"I must ensure that those to whom I owe my greatest loyalty and immense gratitude, and who have always been there to support me through seven federal elections and all the years in between, have sufficient time to select the next Conservative candidate for our great constituency."

Hill, was first elected as an MP in 1993 for the now defunct Reform Party.

He worked in forestry and the oil and gas industry before turning to agriculture in 1975. He and his brother worked on the family farm, taking it over from their parents in 1991.

Hill served as president of the B.C. Grain Producers Association, and was a director for grain with the B.C. Federation of Agriculture

After Hill's statement was released, Heritage Minister James Moore sent a message on Twitter hailing his fellow B.C. Tory MP as "principled, tough, loyal and a good man."

"He is the best parliamentarian our party has ever known, and one of the best ever," Moore wrote.