Tory party braced for MP exodus after Chloe Smith and William Wragg announce they'll stand down

23 November 2022, 16:53

The Conservative party is said to be braced for MP exodus after Chloe Smith and William Wragg announce they'll stand down
The Conservative party is said to be braced for MP exodus after Chloe Smith and William Wragg announce they'll stand down. Picture: Alamy / LBC

By Chris Samuel

Former cabinet minister Chloe Smith has announced she will stand down at the next election, prompting grim predictions of a mass exit by Tory MPs concerned about losing their seats.

Smith, who was the youngest member of the Commons when she was first elected at 27, said that she was stepping down at the “right time” for her family.

The 40-year-old has a majority of 4,738, but current polling suggests she would lose her seat to Labour at the next general election.

Last night William Wragg, 34, the MP for Greater Manchester constituency Hazel Grove since 2015, also announced that would be standing down.

Conservative campaign headquarters has given sitting MPs December 5 deadline to decide whether they wish to stand again, one MP told The Times they expected as many as 80 to bow out, predicting a generational turnover, and said that even MPs in some winnable constituencies would quit if the party looked set to lose power.

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Smith had a brief stint as work and pensions secretary under Liz Truss and was successfully treated for breast cancer two years ago.

She said she'd had been “honoured” to represent Norwich North, saying: “In 2024, after 15 years of service, it will be the right time to step back, for me and my young family.”

Ms Smith said she had been honoured to represent her constituency.
Ms Smith said she had been honoured to represent her constituency. Picture: Alamy

William Wragg was fiercely critical of Boris Johnson, and described the then-PM's position as “untenable” in January.

He also demanded publicly that his successor Liz Truss resign in October, after her mini-budget sparked UK market turmoil.

William Wragg announced his intention to quit last night.
William Wragg announced his intention to quit last night. Picture: Alamy

Conservative peer and legal expert Lord Hayward said: “usually there are 30 or 40 retirements at an election, but it may be slightly higher than that next time, influenced in part by boundary changes”.

Veteran parliamentarians Crispin Blunt and Sir Charles Walker have already announced their intention to stand down.

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