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10 February 2023

Which Tory MPs will be standing down at the next general election?

Conservatives have been spooked by Labour’s large poll leads and planned constituency boundary changes.

By Zoë Grünewald

As Labour maintains a commanding poll lead of around 20 points, an increasing number of Conservative MPs have announced that they will not be standing at the next general election. 

Tory MPs were given until 5 December to tell the party whether they will be contesting their seats at the next election (expected in 2024), but many have delayed a decision until closer to the time. Below is a list of Tory MPs who have already declared their intention to leave parliament.

Nadine Dorries, MP for Mid Bedfordshire since 2005, majority: 24,664

Former Secretary of State Nadine Dorries announced her intention to step down in February 2023, hitting out at the Conservative party’s decision to remove her close ally, Boris Johnson, as leader. For her decision, Dorries blamed “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”.

Matt Hancock, MP for West Suffolk since 2010, majority: 23,194

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The Conservative MP lost the party whip last month for joining reality TV show I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. He was widely condemned by his colleagues for the move. Hancock served as health secretary during the pandemic until he resigned after being caught breaking lockdown regulations. In a statement he said: “The revival of modern conservatism over the next decade will I suspect take place as much outside Parliament as in it. For my part, I want to do things differently. I have discovered a whole new world of possibilities which I am excited to explore.” A spokesperson for Hancock said he had no intention of standing again.

Sajid Javid, MP for Bromsgrove since 2010, majority: 23,106

The former chancellor, health secretary and home secretary, who twice stood for the Conservative Party leadership, is the highest-profile name to announce he will not stand at the next general election. “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,” Javid wrote to his constituency chair on 2 December. “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.”

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Dehenna Davison, MP for Bishop Auckland since 2019, majority: 7,962

The 29-year-old Red Wall MP became a levelling-up minister under Rishi Sunak and was regarded as a rising star in the Conservative Party, after being elected in 2019. She has said that she intends to stand down to devote more time to “life outside politics”.

William Wragg, MP for Hazel Grove since 2015, majority: 4,423

The vice-chairman of the party’s back-bench 1922 committee confirmed he would not be standing again in a tweet in late November.

Chris Skidmore, MP for Kingswood since 2010, majority: 11,220

The former science and universities minister announced he would stand down at the next election in a statement on Twitter. His Kingswood constituency will cease to exist when the parliamentary boundary changes come into effect next year.

Gary Streeter, MP for South West Devon since 1997, majority: 21,430

In a statement, Streeter confirmed he would not be seeking re-election, saying “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”.

Streeter has held his seat for 25 years and prior to that was MP for Plymouth Sutton for five years.

Chloe Smith, MP for Norwich North since 2009, majority: 4,738

Smith served as the work and pensions secretary during Liz Truss’s brief premiership earlier this year. She was elected in 2009, becoming the youngest MP at age 27. Smith did not give a reason for her departure but thanked her team for their support during “tough personal times”.

Douglas Ross, MP for Moray since 2017, majority: 513

The leader of the Scottish Conservatives since 2020, Ross has confirmed he will not stand for re-election in Westminster in order to focus on being an MSP at Holyrood.

Charles Walker, MP for Broxbourne since 2005, majority: 19,807

Walker, who served as chair of the House of Commons Procedure Committee from 2012-19, and also as vice-chairman of the 1922 committee, said he would not stand for re-election in February having entered the House of Commons back in 2005.

[See also: Boris Johnson earning £5m isn’t corruption or conspiracy]

Nigel Adams, MP for Selby and Ainsty since 2010, majority: 20,137

Adams has held roles including Asia minister and sports minister. He said of his resignation: “It is highly likely that following proposed boundary changes, that the Selby and Ainsty seat will disappear in 2024 so that seems an ideal time to retire from elected politics.”

Crispin Blunt, MP for Reigate since 1997, majority: 18,310

The former chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee and a former justice minister announced he would step down after 25 years in parliament.

Mike Penning, MP for Hemel Hempstead since 2005, majority: 14,563

Penning said he would be leaving parliament, having served as an MP for more than 15 years and in multiple ministerial roles. In his statement, Penning said that “whilst I have by no means reached my ‘sell-by date’, I may be described as having reached my ‘best-before date’ and it is now time to allow a new candidate”.

Adam Afriyie, MP for Windsor since 2005, majority: 20,079

Afriyie, who once touted himself as a Conservative leadership challenger to David Cameron in 2015, announced he would step down during the summer, saying it was “the right time” to relinquish his post.

Andrew Percy, MP for Brigg and Goole since 2010, majority: 21,941

Having previously served as a junior communities and local government minister back in 2016, Percy said he would be leaving parliament as his constituency will be abolished under the boundary changes. 

Mark Pawsey, MP for Rugby since 2010, majority: 13,447

The backbencher, whose father Jim had been an MP for earlier iterations of the seat in the 1980s and 1990s, wrote on 5 December: “After much consideration, I have decided that I will not seek re-election at the next general election.

“It has been an honour to serve the residents of Rugby and Bulkington since 2010, and I will continue to work hard on their behalf throughout my remaining time as their MP.”

[See also: Rishi and Piers triumph over Boris and Nadine in TalkTV ratings battle]