Mark Field, the Conservative MP for Cities of London and Westminster, will stand down at the next election, the New Statesman has learned.
The former Asia minister — who was suspended from his government job after being filmed shoving a climate protester in June, and was subsequently sacked by Boris Johnson — told his constituency party’s AGM of his intention to quit the Commons this evening.
In a further statement to constituents, Field — the first Tory MP to call for the revocation of Article 50 — said he was fundamentally at odds with the government’s Brexit strategy and unwilling to remain in parliament as a result. He will, however, vote for the Prime Minister’s deal on Saturday.
Field’s decision not to stand at the next election complicates an already hotly-contested race in his central London constituency, which voted overwhelmingly to Remain in 2016. The seat has only ever been held by the Conservatives, but Labour cut Field’s majority to 3,148 in 2017.
Last week, however, its candidate — Corbynite vicar Steven Saxby — quit the race after being suspended from Labour over allegations of sexual harassment. Applications to replace him as candidate have closed, but a longlist is yet to materialise.
Both parties face a strong challenge from Liberal Democrat MP Chuka Umunna, who announced he would stand in the Two Cities rather than attempt to retain his Streatham seat last month. The Liberal Democrats believe that the Two Cities — and other seats like it in the centre and west of the capital — are now winnable, on the basis of their internal polling and their London-wide victory in the European elections.
For the Tories, meanwhile, it is yet another sign that their parliamentary party has become a cold house for Remainers — or those who favour a close economic relationship with the EU, like Field. If selections in other vacant seats are anything to go by, his replacement is likely to be an avowed Leaver — or at the very least a supporter of Boris Johnson.