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Going, Going, Going....MPs Stepping Down

Sophie Morris

March 2023.

Even though the next general election may not be until January 2025 at the latest, a number of MPs have already announced they will not be standing the next time the country goes to the polls.

Those who have announced their intention to leave parliament in the next few years range from the longest standing female MP, Harriet Harman, to one of those only elected at the last election in 2019, Conservative MP Dehenna Davison.

Here is a full list of all the MPs standing down at the next election:

Sajid Javid (CON)

Sajid Javid has written to the chair of his constituency party in Bromsgrove to say he will not stand at the next general election.

He was unsuccessful in his bid for Conservative Party leadership and had previously held a number of positions in cabinet, including chancellor, health secretary and business secretary.

"It has been a decision I have wrestled with for some time, but I have ultimately concluded not to stand again for what would be my fifth election," he said.

"Being the local MP and serving in Government has been the privilege of my life and I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to serve. I always sought to make decisions in the national interest, and in line with my values, and I can only hope my best was sufficient."

Bromsgrove is considered a safe Conservative seat, with Mr Javid winning a majority of just over 23,000 votes in the 2019 general election.

Matt Hancock (IND, former CON)

The former health secretary wrote to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on 7 December to let him know he would not be standing for the Conservatives at the next election.

He was suspended from the party in November after he announced he was going on reality TV show I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here but said in his letter the chief whip "made clear" last week he would restore the whip "in due course, but that is now not necessary".

Revealing he will not be standing 10 days after finishing third on I'm A Celeb, Mr Hancock said: "There was a time when I thought the only way to influence the public debate was in parliament, but I've realised there's far more to it than that.

"For my part, I want to do things differently. I have discovered a whole new world of possibilities which I am excited to explore - new ways for me to communicate with people of all ages and from all backgrounds."

The 44-year-old MP, who has a 23,194 majority in his West Suffolk constituency, said he wants to champion issues "dear to my heart", including better support for dyslexic children.

Nadine Dorries (CON)

In announcing her intention to stand down at the next general election, former culture secretary Ms Dorries blamed the "sheer stupidity" of her colleagues who "got rid of Boris Johnson".

The Conservative MP for Mid Bedfordshire fought back tears as she delivered the news on her TalkTV show, saying the decision had followed "much soul-searching".

Ms Dorries is a staunch supporter of the former PM and has not hidden her views on Rishi Sunak since he became prime minister.

She said: "Those MPs who drank the Kool-Aid and got rid of Boris Johnson are already asking themselves the question: who next?

"And I'm afraid that the lack of cohesion, the infighting and occasionally the sheer stupidity from those who think we could remove a sitting prime minister, who secured a higher percentage of the vote share than Tony Blair did in 1997, just three short years ago...

"That (they think) they could do that and the public would let us get away with it, I'm afraid it's this behaviour that I now just have to remove myself from."

As she began welling up she added: "And so despite it being a job that I've loved for every year I've done it, I'm now off. Oh gosh, I've just said it out loud, there's no going back now."

George Eustice (CON)

Former environment secretary George Eustice said it was a "difficult decision", but after 15 years as the MP for Camborne and Redruth, he wants to take the opportunity to have another career outside politics.

The senior Tory was secretary of state under Boris Johnson, from February 2020 until September 2022.

Announcing his decision, Mr Eustice said: "By the time of the next election, I will have been in politics for 25 years, including almost 15 years as a member of parliament.

"I will also be 53 and I want the opportunity to do a final career outside politics so have decided not to seek re-election. This has been a difficult decision for me."

A recent finding by UK Polling Report predicted Mr Eustice is set to lose his seat to Labour with a 17.3% drop in votes.

Dehenna Davison (CON)

Ms Davison, who was elected as Bishop Auckland's first ever Conservative MP in 2019 under former prime minister Boris Johnson, has announced she intends to stand down at the next election.

The Levelling Up minister, regarded by many as a rising star in the Tory Party, said she now wanted to devote more time to "life outside politics - mainly to my family".

"I've dedicated the vast majority of my time to politics, and to help make people's lives better. But to be frank, it has meant I haven't had anything like a normal life for a 20-something," she said.

Ms Davison, 29, was thought to have represented a new style of Conservatism which demolished large swathes of Labour's "Red Wall" of seats in the snap election three years ago.

William Wragg (CON)

Senior Tory Mr Wragg has also confirmed he will not run again.

He is the vice-chairman of the influential 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers and has held the Hazel Grove constituency in Greater Manchester since 2015.

He took the seat from the Liberal Democrats and, in doing so, became the first Conservative MP to represent the constituency since 1997.

Mr Wragg had been one of the Conservative MPs most critical of former PM Mr Johnson and also publicly demanded Liz Truss quit as leader in October following her disastrous mini-budget.

The MP for Hazel Grove took a short break earlier this year to recover from depression.

Chris Skidmore (CON)

Former universities minister Mr Skidmore has announced he will be standing down at the next election.

His Kingswood constituency will cease to exist when the new parliamentary boundary changes come into force.

Mr Skidmore said in a statement that "there has been no greater honour in my life" than to represent the constituency, in southwest England.

Mr Skidmore signed the UK's net zero by 2050 commitment into law in 2019 when serving as a minister in former PM Theresa May's government.

Sir Gary Streeter (CON)

The long-standing South West Devon MP will also not seek re-election.

Sir Gary has held his seat since its conception in 1997 and prior to that he was the MP for Plymouth Sutton for five years.

In a statement, the Conservative MP said: "It has been an honour and privilege to represent this consistency for over 30 years, but the time has come for me to step back and let a younger person take over."

Sir Gary, who was knighted in 2018, said he had "great confidence that under Rishi Sunak's leadership our country will recover strongly from recent challenges".

Chloe Smith (CON)

The former work and pensions secretary is another Conservative MP who has announced she will not continue her parliamentary career.

Ms Smith, who served in Liz Truss's cabinet during her brief tenure in Number 10, has held the Norwich North seat since 2009.

When elected, she became the youngest MP aged just 27.

She has also held ministerial jobs across several departments including the Treasury and Northern Ireland Office.

Douglas Ross (CON)

The leader of the Scottish Conservatives has said he will not stand again at Westminster in order to focus on Holyrood as an MSP.

He has served as Member of Parliament for Moray since 2017.

Sir Charles Walker (CON)

Broxbourne MP Sir Charles has announced he will not seek re-election after more than 15 years in Westminster.

He has served as chair of the procedure committee and was knighted in 2019 for "political and public service".

On his return to the backbenches, Sir Charles became a vocal opponent to COVID lockdown restrictions, including an infamous speech where he promised to walk around London with a pint of milk in protest against an extension to emergency powers being extended in March 2021.

Nigel Adams (CON)

Conservative MP Nigel Adams has confirmed he will step down at the next general election.

Mr Adams, a former minister, was first elected as Selby and Ainsty's MP in 2010 and has successfully defended the seat three times.

In a statement, Mr Adams said: "By then [the next election] I will have served 14 years as an MP which I think is a decent innings in public life."

Crispin Blunt (CON)

The Conservative MP for Reigate marked his 25th year in parliament by confirming he will stand aside when the country next goes to the polls.

Earlier this year, Mr Blunt apologised for "significant upset and concern" caused by his defence of fellow MP Imran Ahmad Khan following his conviction for sexually assaulting a teenage boy in 2008.

He is also the uncle of actress Emily Blunt.

Sir Mike Penning (CON)

The Conservative MP for Hemel Hempstead has confirmed he wishes to retire at the next election, having reached the age of 64.

He described it as "one of the most difficult decisions of my life".

Adam Afriyie (CON)

The Windsor Conservative Association (WCA) announced in the summer that Mr Afriyie had decided to step down.

The former trade envoy said with Brexit "concluded" it was the "right time" to relinquish his post.

Andrew Percy (CON)

The MP for Brigg and Goole is another to have confirmed he does not intend to continue in his role.

Mr Percy's constituency would be abolished by the parliamentary boundary review proposals.

He was formerly the Northern Powerhouse minister.

Mark Pawsey (CON)

The MP for Rugby and Bulkington since 2010 has said he will not seek re-election at the next general election.

In a statement to his local Conservative association, Mr Pawsey said he had come to the decision "after much consideration".

"I am sure that a new Conservative candidate will go on to win in Rugby whenever the election is called," he added.

Edward Timpson (CON)

The MP for Eddisbury has confirmed he plans to stand down at the next election "to return in part to legal practice, but also advocacy roles for vulnerable children and families".

Mr Timpson, the son of Sir John Timpson - the chairman and owner of the Timpson chain of shoe repair and key-cutting shops - said he is proud to have been the longest-serving minister for children and families during his time as an MP.

Responding to Mr Timpson's announcement, former PM David Cameron said: "Westminster needs to retain the skills and advice of specialists like Edward, and the Conservative Party does too-particularly in an area where we are not famed for being as strong as he is. I know we won't have seen the last of him."

Jo Gideon (CON)

Conservative MP Ms Gideon has announced she will not contest her Stoke-on-Trent Central seat when the country goes to the polls.

Elected in 2019, Ms Gideon has a very small majority of just 670.

Releasing a statement confirming the move, Ms Gideon, 70, said: "I have not come to this decision lightly."

Sir Paul Beresford (CON)

The MP for Mole Valley, who will be 77 this year, has announced he intends to retire at the next general election.

He confirmed his decision in an email to constituents, stating: "In truth, I did give serious thought to contesting the 2024 election and serving in one more Parliament and the decision to step back has not been easy.

"With this said, I am very much of the view that anyone elected as an MP owes it to their constituents to throw themselves entirely into the role - and when you find yourself beginning to wonder what life without midnight sittings of the House and a dairy built around the whims of the Whips' Office might look like - it is probably time to step back."

Sir Paul holds a 12,041 majority at present, but his Mole Valley constituency is due to be split before the next election - with just 60% of the current constituency making up the bulk of the new Dorking and Horley seat.

Stephen McPartland (CON)

The Conservative MP for Stevenage has said that "after much soul searching" he will not stand for re-election the next time the country goes to the polls.

Writing a letter to the PM informing him of his decision, Mr McPartland, who has been an MP since 2010, said: "I will always support ⁦the Conservatives as the party that gave a working class kid from Brixton the opportunity to become prime minister."

Mr McPartland is known for being independently minded, probing the government hard on cladding a recently being the only Conservative to vote against the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill.

Harriet Harman (LAB)

Labour's Ms Harman, the longest continuous serving female MP in the Commons, has announced that she will not be standing for the party at the next election.

Ms Harman, who has represented the south London constituency of Camberwell and Peckham since 1982, revealed the news on Twitter.

Alex Cunningham (LAB)

The Stockton North MP has announced that he is to stand down after 12 years.

"After more than 30 years in public life as first a local councillor, I've decided the next general election would be the right time for me to retire and hopefully do many of the other things I've never been able to fit in."

Dame Margaret Hodge (LAB)

Veteran Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge is another who will step aside.

Dame Margaret, who has been the MP for Barking in east London since 1994, described the decision as "really tough".

During her time in politics, she has served as a minister in several departments, including education, work and pensions, and culture, and chaired the influential Public Accounts Committee.

More recently, Dame Margaret was a prominent critic of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and accused him of denying the problem of antisemitism within the Labour Party.

Barry Sheerman (LAB)

One of the country's longest-serving MPs, Mr Sheerman will also be leaving parliament.

The MP for Huddersfield since 1979 said standing down at the next election was the right time for him and the party.

Mr Sheerman, who has been a shadow work and pensions and home affairs minister, added he was proud of the work he had done over the past 42 years, but was looking forward to spending more time with his family.

He is the longest-serving Labour MP and the second-longest continuous serving MP in the House of Commons after Father of the House Sir Peter Bottomley.

Alan Whitehead (LAB)

At the start of the year, Mr Whitehead confirmed he will not contest his constituency of Southampton Test again.

Mr Whitehead has held the constituency for Labour since 1997.

Ben Bradshaw (LAB)

The Labour MP for Exeter said that after 25 years in the role it is time to "hand on the baton"

He described himself as being "emotional" about the decision, but told BBC Radio Devon: "If I stood again I could be pushing 70 by the end of the next parliament and I never really wanted to go on that long."

Wayne David (LAB)

The Labour MP for Caerphilly has announced that "with some sadness" he will be stepping down.

In a statement, he said: "The reason is quite simple - I will be 65 in a few months' time and if I were re-elected at the next election, I could still be an MP at the age of 70.

"While some may disagree, I think at that age I would not be able to represent my constituents as effectively as I would like. It is time to make way for a younger person."

Paul Blomfield (LAB)

Mr Blomfield has been Sheffield Central's MP since 2010 and announced he would be stepping away from parliament in February.

In 2016, he was appointed as Labour's shadow Brexit minister, and he was a member of the shadow cabinet until December 2020 when the UK officially left the EU.

Dame Rosie Winterton (LAB)

The Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons said it had been an "honour" to have served as MP of Doncaster Central since 1997 when she announced she would not contest the next election.

Dame Rosie, who was known as a well-respected Labour Party disciplinarian, held positions within the government under the leadership of former prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

Dame Margaret Beckett (LAB)

Britain's first female foreign secretary is to retire after nearly four decades as MP for Derby South.

Dame Margaret, who is also Britain's longest serving female MP, was first elected to the House of Commons to represent Lincoln in 1974 when just 27 MPs were women.

Jon Cruddas (LAB)

Long-term Dagenham and Rainham MP Mr Cruddas has also announced he is to step down.

The Labour MP has held the seat for 21 years, a position he has described as "the greatest honour of my life".

Colleen Fletcher (LAB)

Announcing her intention to stand down, Ms Fletcher, who has held the Coventry North East seat for Labour since 2015, said it was time to move on and pursue new challenges.

Hywel Williams (PLAID CYMRU)

The MP for Arfon has announced he is standing down at the next general election "after much thought and discussion with my family".

At the 2017 general election Mr Williams held Arfon with a majority of just 92 votes, making it the most marginal seat in Wales.

In the following election, in 2019, he extended Plaid's majority to 2,781.

However, the constituency will disappear under proposals to cut the number of Welsh MPs from 40 to 32.

© Sophie Morris / Sky News

Image - PoliticsHome


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