OTTAWA - Veteran Liberal MP Maurizio Bevilacqua is resigning, paving the way for a mayoral bid in his hometown of Vaughan, Ont.

Bevilacqua says he informed Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff Wednesday that he won't be seeking re-election and the leader thanked him for his years of service, a party official said.

He's expected to formally resign his parliamentary seat, which he's held for 22 years, later this week.

Bevilacqua is still being coy about his future but he's told a local newspaper that running for Vaughan's top job in this October's municipal election is "certainly an option."

Bevilacqua's departure could have a bearing on the fate of the long-gun registry, which will be put to a vote in the House of Commons late next month.

The vote is expected to be a squeeker, with up to a dozen New Democrats supporting the Conservative push to scrap the registry.

Ignatieff has ordered all Liberals to support the registry but the loss of even one Liberal vote could make a difference.