03/05/2018 21:11 EST | Updated 03/06/2018 13:35 EST

Brian Jean, Ex-Wildrose Party Leader, Quits Legislature

Brian Jean had run to lead the United Conservative Party a few months ago.

Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean speaks to reporters at the Alberta Legislature Building in Edmonton, Alta., on March 20, 2017.

FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. — The former leader of Alberta's Opposition is quitting the legislature, months after losing a bid to lead the province's new United Conservative Party.

Brian Jean says in a statement that now is an important time to "draw closer" to his family as well as finally get his home rebuilt, which was destroyed in a massive wildfire that hit Fort McMurray in 2016.

Jean was leader of the Wildrose Party in the 2015 election that saw the NDP win power after more than 40 years of Progressive Conservative rule.

Brian Jean and Jason Kenney shake hands after announcing a unity deal between their two parties in Edmonton on May 18, 2017.

His right-of-centre party merged last year with the PCs under then-leader and former federal cabinet minister Jason Kenney to form the UCP, but Jean lost to Kenney to become leader of the new party.

Before provincial politics, Jean was a federal Conservative MP representing the former constituency of Fort McMurray-Athabasca.

Kenney issued a news release thanking Jean for his contributions to the conservative movement, especially as Leader of the Opposition and as a member of the legislature.

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