East of England Euro MP Richard Howitt received a standing ovation from all sides of the European Parliament chamber, following a speech of thanks for his 22 years of service ending yesterday (Wednesday).

Mr Howitt is set to become chief executive of leading global organisation, the International Integrated Reporting Council, which is dedicated to linking companies with society, the environment and the wider economy.

In his speech Mr Howitt said: "Thank-you to everyone in all groups in the European Parliament, members and staff, for all your friendship and your cooperation.

"I am proud to have represented my East of England constituency. Proud as a working class boy who could never have expected to do so, to represent my country and our continent. It has been an honour and a privilege to serve."

During years as of service as a Labour Euro MP, he has helped negotiate multi-million pound European investment regenerating coastal and market towns locally, establishing East coast ports and airports as priority European trade routes and devoting EU regional aid to helping local business transition to low carbon growth.

"I will always remember being here on the historic days of EU enlargement and conflict-resolution in our world. Of championing business responsibility on behalf of this parliament and I now go on to a new career which is true to these values and principles."

It is expected that Mr Howitt will take up his new role next month.

The European Parliament procedure means Britain will nominate the next Labour candidate, Alex Mayer, from the last European Elections in 2014 to replace him as Euro MP.