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Amber Rudd and David Lidington join exodus of MPs before general election
30 October 2019, 10:06
Amber Rudd and David Lidington have announced their resignation from the Commons, joining the exodus of MPs leaving their positions ahead of the general election.
Amber Rudd said she is "confident" in the decision and told The Evening Standard: "I’m not finished with politics, I’m just not standing at this election."
Ms Rudd has sat in the chamber for nearly a decade and was first elected as the Conservative representative of Hastings and Rye in 2010.
But her majority was cut to just 346 in 2017, meaning her seat is likely to be hotly contested in the upcoming general election on 12 December.
Boris Johnson appointed her as the Minister for women and equalities, but in September resigned in solidarity with 21 Tory rebels who had the whip removed after voting against the government to prevent a No-Deal.
But Ms Rudd insists that she and the prime minister have put the past behind them, and she is leaving the Commons "on perfectly good terms."
Ms Rudd had asked the whip be restored to her so she could leave the Commons as a Conservative MP.
But the chief whip, Mark Spencer, refused to return it saying, "receipt of the whip is an honour, not a right and cannot be discarded or returned at will."
Ms Rudd replied: "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."
Last night, 10 of the other rebels had the whip restored hours before the crunch vote on the general election.
Funny thing really, as just last week the PM asked me to stand in the General Election.— Amber Rudd MP (@AmberRuddHR) October 30, 2019
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. https://t.co/Zo0ac7PERO
And Mr Lidington, widely viewed as the de facto prime minister for Theresa May, made is announcement in his local newspaper, citing a a "heavy cost on his family and private life" as the reason for his decision.
He was first elected to Parliament as the member for Aylesbury in 1992, and previously served as the Europe Secretary under David Cameron.
Writing for the Bucks Herald, Mr Lidington said: "After a great deal of thought I have decided not to seek re-election at the forthcoming General Election.
"Politics imposes a heavy cost on family and private life.
"That is not a complaint: people who seek elected office do so voluntarily. But 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 Helen and my family who have given unstinting support to me during more than a quarter of a century in the House of Commons.
During her tenure, Ms Rudd held three senior Cabinet positions, energy and climate change secretary, work and pensions secretary, and home secretary.
Asked if she regretted giving up a Cabinet career to join her colleagues in their rebellion, she told the newspaper she had no regrets.
“Yes, it was a difficult thing to do," she added.
“I thought about it very hard. I felt I wanted to do it out of solidarity with colleagues I had been in cabinet with, people whose values as Conservatives I shared and respected.
"I could not stand by while they were apparently being expelled from the Conservative Party."
However, Ms Rudd added that she was "very pleased" the party was "reasserting itself", and refused to rule out a possible return to the Commons in the future.
Ms Rud has not revealed what her exact plans are next, but said she was in talks with a leading non-government organisation about a role focusing on climate change.
She also said she had a wish to pursue her interests in how cyber security needs to adapt for the 21st century.