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Philip Hammond to step down as MP and will not fight election
5 November 2019, 15:40
Former Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced he is stepping down as an MP after 22 years.
Mr Hammond, who served as chancellor from 2016 to 2019 in Theresa May’s government, said he was standing down ahead of the general election.
He posted his letter to the Prime Minister on Twitter expressing his “great sadness” at stepping down.
He said he had not taken the decision “lightly”.
Mr Hammond was one of the 21 Tory MPs to have the whip removed after rebelling against the government over Brexit.
It is with great sadness that I am today announcing my decision to stand down as Member of Parliament for Runnymede & Weybridge at the forthcoming General Election.— Philip Hammond (@PhilipHammondUK) November 5, 2019
My letter to the constituents I have served for 22 years: pic.twitter.com/KW8KUOhM5I
"It is with great sadness that I am today announcing my decision to stand down as member of parliament for Runnymede and Weybridge at the forthcoming general election."
He addressed his letter to "the constituents I have served for 22 years."
The former Chancellor wrote: "The announcement of the dissolution of Parliament and the forthcoming General Election presented me with an acute dilemma: the withdrawal of the Conservative party parliamentary whip from me and 20 colleagues on 3rd September in response to our support for the so-called Benn Act, preventing a No Deal Brexit on 31st October, means I am unable to stand in the forthcoming election as the Conservative Party candidate."
As he has not had the party whip restored, he would "cease to be a member of the party" if he ran as an Independent candidate.
Mr Hammond appeared to criticise the actions of the current Conservative leadership, saying that "the Conservative party I have served has always had room for a range of opinions and has always been tolerant of measured dissent".
He continued: "Many parliamentary colleagues have defied the party whip on occasions without any action being taken against them."
Despite his decision to not contest his seat, Mr Hammond said: "I will remain an active party member and I will continue to make the case for doing whatever is necessary to deliver a negotiated close future trade and security partnership between the UK and EU."
He wrote: "I shall also seek to promote a widening of Conservative party of the future is a broad based, forward-looking, pro-business and pro-markets centre-right party."