The Speaker
Wednesday, 29 May 2024 – 23:08

Rory Stewart to stand down at next general election and run for Major of London

Former Conservative leadership candidate Rory Stewart has announced he will be standing down at the next general election and will run for the role of Mayor of London as an independent candidate.

The MP for Penrith and the Border ran against Boris Johnson and others in the Conservative leadership contest this summer. Perhaps an outsider in the contest, Mr Stewart described himself as a one-nation Conservative and a moderniser who could win over young voters. During his leadership campaign, he managed to garner significant levels of public support, especially amongst the youth and also from voters who would traditionally vote for other parties. However, Mr Stewart was knocked out of the contest during a round of voting by MPs and came fifth overall.

An MP since 2010, Mr Stewart is a former foreign office official, has been the international development secretary and also prisons ministers. Mr Stewart has also announced his resignation from the Conservative Party.

Writing in his local newspaper, the Cumberland and Westmoreland Herald, he said;

“As you will be aware, I am no longer allowed to run as Conservative MP in Penrith and The Border.

“Because I have loved the constituency so much, I had considered standing as an Independent; but I have decided that I wouldn’t want to run against those Conservative members who have been such wonderful colleagues over the last 10 years.”

Mr Stewart was expelled from the Conservatives in the Commons along with around 20 other rebels who defied the government’s position on Brexit in votes in Parliament. He had though remained a member of the Conservative Party.

The MP supported the Remain campaign in the 2016 EU Referendum and later backed Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement when it was voted on in Parliament. Unlike many of those who ran against him in the Conservative leadership contest, Mr Stewart is heavily against a no-deal Brexit.

It is understood that Mr Stewart will stay in politics but not in the capacity of an MP. Many on social media have expressed sadness at the resignation of Mr Stewart and the hashtag, #RoryWalks, which was used by the MP in his leadership campaign, has started trending on Twitter.

Rory Stewart is just one of the MPs to announce they will not stand at the next election – Philip Hammond, Dominic Grieve and Ken Clarke, amongst others, have also announced they will stand down at the next election. The next election in the UK is scheduled for 2022, however, they have been multiple votes in Parliament in recent weeks to try and call an early general election – so far these calls have been rejected for the fear of the UK falling out of the EU under a no-deal scenario during an election campaign.


Photo Credit: Foreign and Commonwealth Office via Flickr under licence (CC BY 2.0)

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