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Standing down: who are the MPs calling time before the next UK election? | House of Commons

Standing down: who are the MPs calling time before the next UK election? | House of Commons
Standing down: who are the MPs calling time before the next UK election? | House of Commons

So far 90 of the 650 currently sitting MPs have announced they won’t be seeking re-election – the highest number of departing MPs since 2010, with more retirements expected.

Of those, 14 are former secretaries of state – 11 of them Tory – and nine are select committee chairs. The exodus is greater on the Tory benches, which are on track for their biggest wave of departures since the 1997 Labour landslide. We look at the most prominent figures set to leave parliament.

On the Tory benches

Ben Wallace

Ben Wallace. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Wallace served as defence secretary for almost the entirety of Boris Johnson’s government, providing some stability to the brief during an otherwise tumultuous time in British politics. There were suggestions he might take a tilt at the Tory leadership but soon after he left the cabinet last summer he announced he would not be seeking re-election.

Matt Hancock

Matt Hancock. Photograph: Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA

Hancock served as health secretary throughout the coronavirus pandemic until he was forced to resign after his lockdown rule-breaking affair with colleague Gina Coladangelo, now his partner, was exposed. There was no place for him in Rishi Sunak’s cabinet so he flew to Australia to participate in I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! before announcing he would be seeking opportunities outside politics after the election.

Sajid Javid

Sajid Javid. Photograph: Belinda Jiao/Reuters

First elected in 2010, Javid served continuously in cabinet from May 2014, when he was made culture secretary by David Cameron, until February 2020 when he quit as Johnson’s chancellor after a power struggle with Dominic Cummings. He announced in 2022 that he would not be seeking re-election.

Dominic Raab

Dominic Raab. Photograph: Leon Neal/Getty Images

The one-time Tory leadership contender served as one of Johnson’s, and then Sunak’s, most loyal lieutenants. He resigned as deputy prime minister and justice secretary last spring after an investigation into bullying complaints against him. His Esher and Walton constituency in Surrey is a top Lib Dem target and his decision to step down means he will avoid the potential embarrassment of losing his seat.

Kwasi Kwarteng

Kwasi Kwarteng. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Kwarteng served as Johnson’s business secretary before his brief stint as chancellor in Liz Truss’s calamitous government. He announced he was standing down in February, on the same day Truss launched her new Popular Conservatism movement pushing for rightwing policies.

Graham Brady

Graham Brady. Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images

As chair of the 1922 Committee, Brady has been the voice of backbench Conservatives since 2019. He has been the MP for Altrincham and Sale West since 1997 and announced last year that he was standing down, telling his local paper it was time to “bring this fascinating and fulfilling chapter of my life to a close”. His seat has only ever returned Conservative MPs but is now a Labour target.

On the Labour benches

Harriet Harman

Harriet Harman. Photograph: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters

As parliament’s longest continuously serving female MP, Harman has earned the title of Mother of the House. She is also one of two women – alongside Margaret Beckett – to have served as acting leader of the Labour party. Last year she chaired the privileges committee inquiry that concluded that Johnson had deliberately misled parliament over “partygate”.

Margaret Beckett

Margaret Beckett. Photograph: Alicia Canter/The Guardian

First elected an MP in 1974, Beckett lost her seat in 1979 before returning to parliament in 1983 as the MP for Derby South. When she first entered parliament, just 27 MPs were women (there are now 220). She became the UK’s first female foreign secretary under Tony Blair and was Labour’s first female acting leader. She announced she was stepping down last year, saying she still had faith in politics despite the abuse and violence MPs face.

Margaret Hodge

Margaret Hodge. Photograph: Linda Nylind/The Guardian

First elected MP for Barking in 1994 in a byelection, Hodge became well known for her chairing of the public accounts select committee. She was a fierce critic of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership over antisemitism, and has since been supportive of Keir Starmer. In a video message announcing her intention to stand down, she said her proudest moment in politics was beating Nick Griffin, the then British National party leader, when he contested the Barking seat in 2010.

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