• Thursday, June 13, 2024


Record number of Conservative MPs to stand down before election

With 118 of Parliament’s 650 MPs not seeking re-election, the Tories are reportedly struggling to field candidates in some areas.

Sunak speaks to journalists on the plane on their way to Staffordshire on May 24 as part of his campaign ahead of a general election on July 4. (Photo: Getty Images)

By: Vivek Mishra

Several Conservative MPs announced on Friday that they will not seek re-election in the upcoming UK general election, bringing the total to 75, a post-war record for the party.

This surpasses the previous high of 72 MPs who stepped down before Tony Blair’s 1997 Labour landslide, raising concerns about the Conservative Party’s future as they face the possibility of losing power after 14 years.

Prime minister Rishi Sunak is dealing with increasing challenges as high-profile figures like “Bionic MP” Craig Mackinlay, John Redwood, and Greg Clark join the list of those retiring.

With 118 of Parliament’s 650 MPs not seeking re-election, the Tories are reportedly struggling to field candidates in some areas, adding to the uncertainty ahead of the July 4 vote.

The departures add to a feeling that the Conservatives are on track to be removed from power after 14 years, although Labour needs a big swing to secure a majority in Parliament.

“Bionic MP” Craig Mackinlay, who returned to Parliament this week with prosthetic arms and legs following a quadruple amputation, had initially said he would seek re-election. But in a statement to GB News on Friday, Mackinlay said he had decided to listen to his “head” rather than his “heart” and would now leave Parliament.

“It would be difficult to withstand the rigours of an all-out election campaign, a campaign that I’d always wish to lead from the front,” he said. “Thereafter, upon being re-elected, it would be difficult for me to sustain 70- to 80-hour working weeks, which were the norm prior to my illness.”

Eurosceptic Tory veteran John Redwood and former minister Greg Clark also confirmed they were standing down.

A total of 118 of Parliament’s 650 MPs have said they will not seek re-election. Among them are former Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May and ex-Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi. Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris is also going.

More MPs are expected to confirm they are leaving before the June 7 deadline for parties to confirm their election candidates.

Media reports have suggested that the Tories are struggling to field prospective MPs in some areas. Sunak’s surprise calling of the election on Wednesday, six months before he had to, also came before Labour had all its candidates in place.

The Labour Party holds a 17-point lead over the Conservative Party in the first poll since the July 4 election date was announced. The poll was conducted by More in Common, a member of the British Polling Council.

UK political parties began their election campaigns on Thursday. Sunak announced general election dates on Wednesday.

Sunak and rival Keir Starmer are seeking to seize the early initiative by meeting voters and delivering the messages they hope will earn them enough seats in parliament to form a majority government on July 5.


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