Tony Blair has resigned as the MP for Sedgefield just hours after resigning as Prime Minister.
He was confirmed at 5pm as the new envoy for the Quartet (EU, USA, UN and Russia) on resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict. He will occupy an office in Jerusalem, and has been welcomed by leaders in the region.
Mr Blair, who has introduced a wide range of gay rights in his ten years in power, was not expected to remain in the House of Commons.
MPs are technically not allowed to resign.
He will have to apply to become a holder of the Chiltern Hundreds, a legal fiction, an “office of profit under the Crown,” that disqualifies an individual from sitting as an MP.
He has represented the Sedgefield constituency since 1983.
His immediate departure will mean that new Prime Minister Gordon Brown faces two by election tests within weeks of taking office.
Last week the Labour MP for Ealing Southall, Piara Khabra, died aged 82.
It has been discussed within both Conservative and Labour circles that gay candidates should be selected to contest the by elections.
Traditionally former Prime Ministers are offered a seat in the House of Lords once they leave the Commons.
It is not known if the title of Baron Blair of Sedgefield will be created for or accepted by the 54-year-old departing leader.