Tory exodus continues: Two more MPs announce they are standing down at the next general election as poll shows Labour are 21 points ahead
- Sir Paul Beresford and Stephen McPartland to stand down at next election
- Tories continue to lag far behind Labour in opinion polls amid fears of wipeout
The exodus of Tory MPs from Parliament has continued to grow as two more backbenchers announced they will quit at the next general election.
Sir Paul Beresford, the long-serving MP for Mole Valley, and Stephen McPartland, who has been MP for Stevenage since 2010, revealed they will not re-contest their seats.
It means there are now 20 Tory MPs who will leave the House of Commons at the next general election, which has to be held no later than January 2025.
The stream of Conservatives announcing they are standing down comes amid fears of a looming Tory wipeout.
Rishi Sunak’s party are continuing to lag far behind Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour in opinion polls, which has prompted concerns that vast swathes of Tory constituencies are at risk.
The latest poll from Redfield & Wilton Strategies showed the Conservatives are 21 percentage points behind Labour – although this was five points less than the previous week’s survey.
The latest poll from Redfield & Wilton Strategies showed the Conservatives are 21 percentage points behind Labour
Sir Paul Beresford (left), the long-serving MP for Mole Valley, and Stephen McPartland, who has been MP for Stevenage since 2010, revealed they will not re-contest their seats
This week’s research found that 41 per cent of voters expect a Labour majority to be the most likely outcome of a general election.
Just 17 per cent expected a Tory majority and even fewer (9 per cent) expected a Conservative-led minority government.
Tory former Cabinet ministers Nadine Dorries, Sajid Javid and George Eustice are also among those Conservative MPs who have announced they will not contest the next general election.
Ex-health secretary Matt Hancock, who was stripped of the Conservative whip over his money-making appearance on TV’s I’m A Celebrity, is also leaving Parliament.
Sir Paul has been MP for Mole Valley since 1997, having been MP for Croydon Central since 1992.
The 76-year-old’s Mole Valley constituency is considered a Tory safe seat with Sir Paul winning with a 12,000-vote majority at the 2019 general election.
Under plans for a shake-up of parliamentary constituencies ahead of the next election, the seat will be redrawn as Dorking and Horley.
In an email to his constituents, Sir Paul said he had decided not to contest the new seat ‘after a great deal of thought’.
‘In truth, I did give serious thought to contesting the 2024 election and serving in one more Parliament and the decision has not been easy,’ he added.
‘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 diary built around the whomes of the Whips’ Office might look like – it is probably time to step back.’
Rishi Sunak’s party are continuing to lag far behind Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour in opinion polls, which has prompted concerns that vast swathes of Tory constituencies are at risk
Mr McPartland won his Stevenage seat off Labour at the 2010 general election and held it with an 8,500-vote majority in 2019.
It has traditionally been viewed as a bellwether seat of the national result at a general election and was held by Labour under Tony Blair’s three election victories, having been a Tory seat under both John Major and Margaret Thatcher.
Mr McPartland briefly served as a Home Office minister last summer as part of Boris Johnson’s caretaker government.
Last month, he was the only Conservative MP to vote against the Government’s bill to introduce minimum service levels during public sector strikes.
The 46-year-old hit out at the ‘shameful’ legislation and claimed it ‘does nothing to stop strikes’.
He warned it could lead to the sacking of individual NHS staff or teachers.
In a letter to the PM, Mr McPartland said he had decided not to seek reselection as the Tory candidate in Stevenage ‘after much soul-searching’.
He told Mr Sunak he wanted to ‘take up new opportunities outside of politics’ but vowed to ‘always support’ the Tories.
According to his register of interests, Mr McPartland was last year earning nearly £10,000 a month from consultancy work and from his role with a furniture retailer in addition to his salary for being an MP.
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