Nicky Morgan and Amber Rudd among MPs stepping down

Culture secretary and former home secretary among host of moderate Tories not standing

The culture secretary, Nicky Morgan, and the former home secretary Amber Rudd are among the Conservative moderates who have announced they will not stand in the upcoming election.

Morgan announced the news on Twitter, accompanied by a letter in which she cited “the clear impact on my family and the other sacrifices involved in, and the abuse for, doing the job of a modern MP” as part of the reason for her decision.

For the first time in 18 years I won't be a candidate in the next General Election. I've loved being #Loughborough's voice in Westminster since 2010 & being DCMS Secretary - & I look forward to supporting the PM, Government, Conservative Party and my successor in the future

— Nicky Morgan MP (@NickyMorgan01) October 30, 2019

Rudd has been embroiled in a highly public spat with Downing Street over her departure, with the party banning her from standing again for the Conservatives and Rudd then responding that Boris Johnson had offered her a safe seat only last week.

She and Morgan are two of a number of senior Tory moderates who are not standing again at the election on 12 December, including Ken Clarke, Alistair Burt, Claire Perry and the prime minister’s brother, Jo Johnson. They were joined on Wednesday by David Lidington, Theresa May’s former de facto deputy.

In a letter to his local newspaper, the Bucks Herald, the Aylesbury MP wrote: “I have come to the conclusion that now is the right time for me to give a higher priority in terms of my time and energy, to … my family.”

Many of the MPs leaving the Conservatives are female. One in six of the women who were elected for the party in 2017 have either quit or stood down.


Alistair Burt North East Bedfordshire; Keith Simpson Broadland; Nicholas Soames Mid Sussex; Michael Fallon Sevenoaks; Nick Hurd Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner; Jo Johnson Orpington; Caroline Spelman Meriden; Claire Perry Devizes; Richard Benyon Newbury; David Jones Clwyd West; Mark Prisk Hertford and Stortford; Bill Grant Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock; Hugo Swire East Devon; Jeremy LeFroy Stafford; David Tredinnick Bosworth; Glyn Davies Montgomeryshire; Mark Field Cities of London and Westminster; Seema Kennedy South Ribble; Sarah Newton Truro and Falmouth; Richard Harrington Watford; David Lidington Aylesbury; Patrick McLoughlin Derbyshire Dales; Alan Duncan Rutland and Melton; Peter Heaton-Jones North Devon; Nicky Morgan Loughborough; Margot James Stourbridge; Mark Lancaster Milton Keynes North; Ross Thomson Aberdeen South; Henry Bellingham North West Norfolk; Nick Herbert Arundel and South Downs; Ed Vaizey Wantage; George Hollingbery Meon Valley; Charlie Elphicke Dover; David Jones Clwyd West


Kevin Barron Rother Valley; Paul Farrelly Newcastle-under-Lyme; John Mann Bassetlaw; Kate Hoey Vauxhall; Teresa Pearce Erith and Thamesmead; Stephen Pound Ealing North; Geoffrey Robinson Coventry North West; Stephen Twigg Liverpool West Derby; Jim Cunningham Coventry South; Ian Lucas Wrexham; Albert Owen Ynys Môn; Roberta Blackman-Woods City of Durham; Gloria De Piero Ashfield; Ronnie Campbell Blyth Valley; Jim Fitzpatrick Poplar and Limehouse; Ann Clwyd Cynon Valley; Owen Smith Pontypridd; Adrian Bailey West Bromwich West; Helen Jones Warrington North; Tom Watson West Bromwich East


Philip Hammond* Runnymede and Weybridge; Justine Greening* Putney; Rory Stewart* Penrith and the Border; Guto Bebb* Aberconwy; Oliver Letwin* West Dorset; Ken Clarke* Rushcliffe; Jared O'Mara** Sheffield Hallam; Louise Ellman** Liverpool Riverside; Amber Rudd* Hastings and Rye; John Woodcock** Barrow and Furness; Kelvin Hopkins** Luton North; Ian Austin** Dudley North; Sylvia Hermon North Down; Nick Boles* Grantham and Stamford

Liberal Democrats

Heidi Allen*** South Cambridgeshire; Sir Vince Cable Twickenham; Norman Lamb North Norfolk 

Independent Group for Change

Ann Coffey Stockport; Joan Ryan Enfield North  

Democratic Unionist Party

David Simpson Upper Bann


John Bercow Buckingham

* Formally Conservative party 
** Formally Labour party
*** Originally elected as a Conservative

The row between Rudd and No 10 broke out after the former home secretary said she would be stepping down as an MP at the election and not standing again in her marginal seat of Hastings and Rye, where she has a majority of 346.

Rudd, once tipped as a future Conservative leader, told the Evening Standard: “I’m not finished with politics, I’m just not standing at this election.” She later tweeted: “Moving on. Good luck to colleagues in forthcoming GE.”

Announcing her departure, Rudd said she had hoped to rejoin the party ranks but was rebuffed by Mark Spencer, the chief whip, whose cutting letter to her was made public.

In surrendering the whip, Spencer wrote, Rudd had made it clear she “did not support the approach of the prime minister and did not have confidence in him”.

He added: “You have failed to provide me with assurances that you will not change your mind once more.”

Having the party whip was “an honour, not a right, and as such it cannot be discarded or returned at will if it is to have any meaning”, Spencer said in the letter.

Rudd tweeted in response that Johnson had asked her to stand in the election as a Conservative only last week, potentially in the safe seat of Mid Sussex being vacated by Sir Nicholas Soames.

Funny thing really, as just last week the PM asked me to stand in the General Election.

Afraid the Chief Whip has been briefed by the wrong “No 10 Sources” this morning but nonetheless I respect the decision he had been asked to make.

— Amber Rudd MP (@AmberRuddHR) October 30, 2019

When she left the cabinet earlier this autumn in solidarity with Tory MPs who had had the whip removed for opposing a hard Brexit, Rudd condemned Johnson’s use of words such as “surrender” and “betrayal” over Brexit, warning it could incite violence against opponents.

Rudd became an MP in 2010 and climbed the junior ministerial ranks before replacing Theresa May as home secretary in 2016, when May entered Downing Street. However, she was forced to resign two years later after failing to properly account for her role in the Windrush scandal about the treatment of Caribbean Britons.

She returned to the cabinet as work and pensions secretary later the same year, but after Johnson replaced May, Rudd appeared increasingly uncomfortable with what she said was his pursuit of a no-deal Brexit.

On Tuesday, 10 of the 21 Conservative MPs who had the whip removed for supporting a backbench-instigated bill seeking to block a no-deal Brexit were readmitted to the party.

But the others remained out in the cold, indicating they would not be able to stand for the party, including the former chancellor Philip Hammond, the former justice secretary David Gauke, Oliver Letwin and the former attorney general Dominic Grieve.

More than 50 MPs have so far announced they will stand down at the election, already well above the 31 who did not stand again in 2017. Those were both two-year parliaments.

They include the Stockport MP, Ann Coffey, who resigned from Labour earlier this year and went on to help form Change UK. She announced her decision in a video to constituents on Twitter.

More MPs have stood down before other elections, with 90 not standing again in 2015 and 149 in 2010.


Peter Walker and Rowena Mason

The GuardianTramp

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