'We are a different party to the one I joined': Veteran Tory MP Stephen Hammond has confirmed he is standing down

15 September 2023, 10:18

Stephen Hammond told LBC that sometimes you "can go on for too long"
Stephen Hammond told LBC that sometimes you "can go on for too long". Picture: Alamy
Henry Riley

By Henry Riley

The long-standing Conservative MP for Wimbledon has announced that he is standing down at the next election.

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Stephen Hammond, a former Health Minister, has told LBC that after “agonising all summer” he will no longer continue as a Tory MP saying that it is “a different party to the one I joined” and that “you can go on for too long”.

The MP, who has served for 18 years, has insisted that Rishi Sunak has his “full support”, saying that he has “integrity”, and is both “hardworking and professional” but did question former leaders of his party.

On Boris Johnson, Mr Hammond told LBC that the “public understandably felt that Mr Johnson behaved in ways which weren’t acceptable”. Whilst on the 49 days that Liz Truss was in Downing Street, he admitted that her ‘mini budget’ was “mistimed”.

Stephen Hammond has enjoyed a mixed career within the party – after serving as a Minister under David Cameron and Theresa May, he was also the Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party – yet he had the party whip suspended in 2019 after voting for a bill ruling out leaving the European Union without a deal.

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He was suspended for nearly two months alongside Ken Clarke, Philip Hammond and Rory Stewart.

But the serving MP maintains that he is also standing down for “personal” reasons, citing the care of his parents and parents-in-law as being the “primary factor”

The move piles further pressure on Rishi Sunak as the exodus of Conservative MPs continues. Currently over 40 Tory MPs have said they will stand down at the next election, including former Cabinet ministers Dominic Raab, Matt Hancock and Ben Wallace.

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