08:57 GMT10 May 2021
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    Britain will convene its third General Election in four and a half years, in what promises to be one of the most bitter votes in recent memory. It follows a notably fractious and divisive period in the country’s politics – a climate so toxic several MPs have decided not to seek reelection.

    In all, 50 parliamentarians will be standing down – here’s a guide to who’s leaving the Commons, and why.

    The Speaker

    Commons Speaker John Bercow is departing “with a heavy heart” after nearly a decade in his post, having allegedly shouted “order” over 14,000 times from his grand chair at the head of the chamber. Succeeding the late Michael Martin as Speaker in 2009, he has gained a reputation for standing up for MPs against the government, granting more emergency debates and urgent questions in the Commons than any other Speaker in living memory.


    Richard Benyon, MP for Newbury, merely said he was unwilling to stand.

    Alistair Burt, MP for North East Bedfordshire, said it was unfair for him to present voters “with a conflict of interest between [his] views and those of the party at an election”.

    One of the biggest departures this year, in every sense, is Ken Clarke, a veteran ‘big beast’ of the Conservative party – at 79 years old, he’s the ‘father of the house’, having been elected in 1970. Clarke served as a cabinet minister under three successive Prime Ministers - Education Secretary under Margaret Thatcher, Home Secretary and Chancellor under John Major and Justice Secretary under David Cameron. Socially and economically liberal, he’s headed the Tory Reform Group since 1997, and been a consistently pro-European voice in an increasingly Euroskeptic party for some time.

    Alan Duncan, MP for Rutland and Melton, confirmed he’d be standing down after the election was called. He was the first openly gay Conservative MP in history.

    Mark Field, MP for Cities of London and Westminster, said he was “forced to make the very difficult decision not to offer” himself as a candidate at the next election. He had previously been investigated for assaulting a female protester.

    Glyn Davies, MP for Montgomeryshire, said “it’s a difficult time and I will be glad to see the behind of it”.

    Mims Davies, MP for Eastleigh, said as a “single parent of two wonderful girls” it had “become increasingly difficult to juggle the responsibilities I have first and foremost as a mother and, secondly, as an MP and minister”.

    Michael Fallon, MP for Sevenoaks, is resinging after serving his constituency for over 30 years – “quite long enough”. It’s been suggested the Prime Minister may snatch his seat due to its rock-solid majority.

    Bill Grant, MP for Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock, said he’d served the UK “in some form of public service for 53 years, and to leave that service now when the country is facing such an enormous challenge has been difficult to consider.”

    Richard Harrington, MP for Watford, said it had “always been my intention to step down at the next General Election”.

    Peter Heaton-Jones, MP for North Devon, said his departure was “a purely personal decision…based on several factors, including a significant change in my family circumstances since my re-election in 2017”. “This has been one of the most intense periods in recent political history, and I think it is telling that a relatively high number of MPs are deciding to stand down now,” he added.

    Nick Hurd, MP for Ruislip, Northwood & Pinner, said it was time to “embrace a new challenge”.

    Jo Johnson, the Prime Minister’s younger brother, announced he was quitting in September as Boris was failing the national interest – he said he’d been "torn between family loyalty and national interest" but it was now "time for others" to take over his role. He quit Theresa May’s government over her handling of Brexit.

    David Jones, MP for Clwyd West, said “at a personal level”, he “[wished] to dedicate more of my time to my family”.

    Seema Kennedy, MP for South Ribble, said it was “now time for me to focus on other priorities in my life”.

    Jeremy Lefroy, MP for Stafford, said “it was the right thing to do” to stand down.

    David Lidington, MP for Aylesbury, is leaving because “politics imposes a heavy cost on family and private life”.

    Nicky Morgan, MP for Loughborough, said “the abuse for doing the job of a modern MP can only be justified if, ultimately, parliament does what it is supposed to do - represent those we serve in all areas of policy, respect votes cast by the electorate and make decisions in the overall national interest”. Evidently it was no longer justifiable.

    Sir Patrick McLoughlin, MP for Derbyshire Dale, said it was “time to let someone else have that opportunity”.

    Sarah Newton, MP for Truro and Falmouth, said she was resigning to “pursue other interests”.

    Claire Perry, MP for Devizes, is stepping down as an MP to run the UN climate talks in Glasgow in 2020.

    Mark Prisk, MP for Hertford and Stortford, said he couldn’t make the commitment to serve a whole five-year parliament.

    Keith Simpson, MP for Broadland, said as he was “the ripe old age of 70” he’d decided to not stand again.

    Nicholas Soames, grandson of Winston Churchill, was a Conservative MP for 22 years – until the party whip was withdrawn when he voted to block a no deal Brexit on the basis such an eventuality would be the "most serious crisis" the UK has faced since World War II. The whip was later restored – but mere hours later he voted for a fresh General Election.

    Caroline Spelman, MP for Meriden, said she, her family and staff had “borne an enormous brunt of abuse and I think quite frankly we’ve had enough”.

    Hugo Swire, MP for Devon, said it was his original intention “to stand down in 2022, when the next general election was scheduled to be held".

    David Tredinnick, MP for Bosworth, said it was “time to make way for a younger candidate with new ideas”.

    Conservatives Removed After Blocking No Deal Brexit

    Guto Bebb, MP for Aberconwy, said he was leaving as he was “not quite sure why the Conservative Party have decided to become a type of populist English nationalist party…I don't feel any affinity to that”.

    Nick Boles, MP for Grantham, said it was “time for somebody else” to take his place.

    Justine Greening, MP for Putney, said it was “very clear” her concerns about the Conservatives “becoming the Brexit party” had “in effect come to pass”.

    Oliver Letwin, MP for West Dorset, has confirmed his intention to stand down.

    Amber Rudd, MP for Hastings & Rye, said she wasn’t “ finished with politics” but was merely “ not standing at this election”. A prominent anti-Brexit MP who resigned from the government in solidarity with the 21 Tories who lost the whip in September, she has since said a no-deal Brexit should be left open as an option.

    Rory Stewart, MP for Penrith and the Border, said he was “coming to the very end” of his time in Parliament, and has announced plans to run for London Mayor in 2020.


    Adrian Bailey, MP for West Bromwich West, said he couldn’t commit himself to parliamentary life until he was nearly eighty years old despite being “very fit both mentally and physically”.

    Kevin Barron, MP for Rother Valley, is leaving due to his age – he said he was “pretty sure” he’d be the last Yorkshire miner to serve as an MP.

    Roberta Blackman-Woods, MP for City of Durham, is leaving for “a whole host of largely personal reasons”.

    Ronnie Campbell, MP for Blyth Valley, is leaving due to his age, he felt it was time he was “put out to grass”.

    Ann Clwyd, MP for Cynon Valley, said she would continue to fight for the Labour Party at the next general election, but not as an MP.

    Jim Cunningham, MP for Coventry South, said “the time has come to hand over the baton to someone new”.

    Paul Farrelly, MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme, said it wouldn’t be fair on her “young family” to carry on beyond the next election, “with all the stresses and strains that go with the job of being a dutiful member of parliament”.

    Jim Fitzpatrick, MP for Poplar and Limehouse, said Labour HQ had asked if he’d  stand again, to which he responded “a volunteer parachutist may be needed”.

    Kate Hoey, MP for Vauxhall, has opted to not seek reelection. She became popular in Conservative circles due to her passionate Brexit support.

    Helen Jones, MP for Warrington North, branded upon her election in 1997 a ‘Blair babe’, is leaving after six elections.

    Ian Lucas, MP for Wrexham, said the “time is right to choose to follow a different path in the years to come”.

    John Mann, MP for Bassetlaw, resigned as an MP before election was called to take up seat in the House of Lords.

    Gloria De Piero, MP for Ashfield, questioned whether she could properly commit to her constituents for another term in parliament.

    Geoffrey Robinson (Coventry North West): “There is nothing more important or rewarding than helping people, however I need to be fully fit to be able to undertake the job properly.”

    Albert Owen, MP for Ynys Mon, said being an MP was “an intense full-time job” and he wanted “to do other things and spend more quality time with my family”.

    Teresa Pearce, MP for Erith and Thamesmead, made the decision to not stand at the next election for “many reasons” – “some personal, some not”.

    Stephen Pound, MP for Ealing North, is resigning after 22 years in parliament.

    Owen Smith, MP for Pontypridd, gained some prominence when he battled Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour leadership following the EU referendum in 2016. His campaign failed to dislodge the incumbent leader – and his staunch opposition to Brexit has alienated him from politics. He says leaving the EU “isn’t compatible with my values” and is “a right-wing ideological project… fuelled by lies”.

    Stephen Twigg, MP for Liverpool West Derby, who famously unseated Michael Portillo in Enfield Southgate in one of many shock results in the 1997 election, said the time had come to take on “something new” as he approached his mid-fifties.

    Liberal Democrats

    Heidi Allen, MP for South Cambridgeshire, is resigning after a tumultuous year for her political career – first she quit the Conservatives to join the Independent Group for Change, then she jumped ship to the Lib Dems.

    She’s leaving due to the "nastiness" of British politics, a decision which has left her “heartbroken”. In a letter to her constituents, she said she was “exhausted” by the invasion into her privacy and “nastiness and intimidation that has become commonplace”.

    “Nobody in any job should have to put up with threats, aggressive emails, being shouted at in the street, sworn at on social media, nor have to install panic alarms at home. Of course public scrutiny is to be expected, but lines are all too often regularly crossed and the effect is utterly dehumanising,” she lamented.

    Vince Cable, MP for Twickenham, said he wouldn’t be able to commit to a five year term. He was a controversial figure in the party, having prominently served in the Conservative-led coalition as Business Secretary, before losing his seat in 2015. He returned to parliament two years later, and was elected party leader, becoming the oldest person to head a major UK political party since Winston Churchill.

    Norman Lamb, MP for North Norfolk, said he was departing as “we are in a very sad and disturbing place in our politics”.

    Independent Group for Change

    Ann Coffey, MP for Stockport, has decided “after a lot of consideration” not to stand for election again.

    Joan Ryan, MP for Enfield North, claims when she stood in 2017 she “always intended to serve only one more term in Parliament”.


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