Mhairi Black to stand down at next general election - which other MPs are joining her?

Mhairi Black to stand down at next general election - which other MPs are joining her?

Related video: Ian Blackford’s best PMQs moments as SNP Westminster leader


Mhairi Black, the Scottish National Party's (SNP) deputy Westminster leader and MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire, has become the latest member of parliament to announce they will be stepping down at the next general election.

Ms Black, 28, who has often been praised for "brilliant" and "outstanding" speeches on issues such as reforms to the Gender Recognition Act (she identifies as a lesbian) and the government's now-ditched plans to scrap the Human Rights Act, told Global's News Agents podcast she is "tired" of working in a "toxic environment".

"It's definitely a poisonous place, whether that's because of what folk can get away with in it, or the number of personal motivations and folk having a lot of ulterior motives for things. It's just not a nice place to be in.

"You can never really switch off when you're in Westminster ... and in the run up to the next election, I've realised that'll be almost 10 years that I've been elected. So a third of my life I've spent in Westminster, which gives me the ick," she told Emily Maitlis.

Ms Black became the youngest person to be elected to parliament since 1667 when she won her seat in 2015.

As the next election nears ever closer (the current parliament will dissolve on 17 December next year, at the very latest, with the day of the vote taking place 25 working days later, so January 2025), Ms Black isn’t the only politician to decide they’ve had enough of Westminster.

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Here’s a round-up.

Ian Blackford

Just several months after he quit as the Westminster leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), Ian Blackford announced he was standing down as a Member of Parliament at the next general election.

The MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber said last month that he had "thought long and hard" about standing again as an SNP candidate, but confirmed he would not put himself forward.

"Having stood down as SNP Westminster leader, I have gone through a period of reflection as to how I can best assist the party and the cause of independence - a cause I have campaigned for since joining the SNP as a teenager in the 1970s.

"Although I will not be standing for the Westminster parliament at the next election, I look forward to playing my part in the continuing campaign for Scottish independence and supporting our first minister and the SNP as we go forward to the next election and beyond," he said.

Dominic Raab

According to a letter to his local Conservative Association, seen by the Telegraph, Mr Raab reportedly said he has become "increasingly concerned over the last few years about the pressure the job has placed on my young family".

"I will continue to carry out all my responsibilities to my constituents, and provide every support in campaigning so that we win here next year - which I am confident we can do under this prime minister's leadership," he added.

The Esher and Walton MP were already making headlines after a report into bullying allegations last month found he had been "intimidating" and "persistently aggressive" towards officials - a conclusion which saw him quit as deputy prime minister and justice secretary and claim he had been subjected to a "Kafkaesque saga".

Douglas Ross

The MP for Moray and Scottish Conservatives leader, who currently juggles these commitments with being the Member of Scottish Parliament for Highlands and Islands, made it clear all the way back in 2021 that he won't be contesting the Moray seat at the next general election.

Instead, he'll be focussing his attention on the situation in the Scottish Parliament.

In a press release from October 2021 criticising Boundary Commission proposals for the Moray seat, Mr Ross said: "While I have already said I will not be fighting the Moray seat at the next election, as the current MP I can't support the proposals to carve-up the Moray constituency."

He added it has been "a huge honour" to represent his "home area" as MP.

Nadine Dorries

Sharing the news on her TalkTV show Friday Night with Nadine, the ex-culture secretary and Mid Bedfordshire MP said that "despite it being a job that I've loved for every year that I've done it", she is "off" because of behaviour she has to "remove myself from".

"Those MPs who drank the Kool-Aid and got rid of Boris Johnson are already asking themselves the question: who next?

"I'm afraid that the lack of cohesion, the in-fighting, and occasionally the sheer stupidity from those who think, we could have removed a sitting prime minister who secured a higher percentage of the vote share than Tony Blair did in 1997 just three short years ago...

"That they could do that and the public would let us get away with it? I'm afraid it's this behaviour that I now have to just remove myself from," she said.

Ms Dorries even became emotional as she realised she had "said it out loud" and there was "no going back now".

Turning to her studio guests, she asked: "So, guys, did you expect that?"

Well, quite a few of us did, Nadine, if reports of you going off to the House of Lords are to be believed.

Such reports have sparked controversy given evidence she provided to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee in which she claimed the Channel 4 documentary Tower Block of Commons had used paid actors.

The production company, Love Productions, investigated and found the contributors to the programme included “ordinary members of the public and with whom the Secretary of State had significant interaction”.

Despite this finding, and the committee’s chair Julian Knight MP writing to her to say that the “weight of evidence” it has received “suggests that your recollection of the show is flawed”, Ms Dorries did not choose to reconsider.

The committee could have referred Ms Dorries to another committee for further investigation, but a report published in October concluded: “Had Ms Dorries remained Secretary of State, driving a policy of selling the channel, we may have sought a referral to the Privileges Committee but, as her claims have not inhibited the work of the Committee and she no longer has a position of power over the future of Channel 4, we are, instead, publishing this Report to enable the House, and its Members, to draw their own conclusions.”

Dehenna Davison MP

Davison, who juggles a presenting job on GB News alongside her role in the House of Commons, announced her intention to stand down at the next election on her Facebook page on back in November.

Confirming she would continue to represent constituents until the election is called, she wrote: “I will always be humbled to have had the opportunity to serve as a Member of Parliament, but now the time feels right for me to devote more of my attention to life outside politics – mainly to my family, and helping support them as they’ve helped support me.

“That’s why I won’t be standing in the next general election.”

The 29-year-old became the first Tory MP to represent Bishop Auckland in 2019 with a majority of more than 7,900 votes.

Here’s a round-up.

Gary Streeter MP

Just a day before Davison’s decision came news of Gary Streeter’s “retirement”, who said “the time has come” to “let a younger person take over” as the next Conservative contestant for his South West Devon seat.

Chloe Smith MP

The former minister for disabled people and ex-work and pensions secretary, who represents Norwich North, revealed on Tuesday that she would be stepping down at the next election.

First elected in 2009, the Tory MP said on her website that being the parliamentary representative for the constituency is a “fantastic job for a fantastic place” and that it is a “particular privilege” to represent Norwich.

“I hope I’ve been able to make a difference, locally and nationally. In 2024, after 15 years of service, it will be the right time to step back, for me and my family,” Ms Smith said.

William Wragg MP

On the same day that Ms Smith announced she would stand down when the current term ends, Hazel Grove MP William Wragg tweeted he too had made the same decision.

The 34-year-old Conservative wrote: “I shall continue to represent constituents to the best of my ability in the meantime and thank everyone for their wonderful support over the years.”

Colleen Fletcher MP

The Labour MP has represented Coventry North East since 2015.

Hywel Williams MP

The Plaid Cymru MP represented the Welsh constituency of Caernarfon from 2001 before representing the Arfon constituency from 2010.

Jon Cruddas MP

Also first elected in 2001, Labour’s Mr Cruddas is the MP for Dagenham and Rainham.

Rosie Winterton MP

Ms Winterton is better known as a deputy speaker in the Commons, but she is also the Labour MP for Doncaster Central in her own right.

Harriet Harman MP

Known as “the mother of the house” due to her being the female MP with the longest, continuous tenure in the chamber, Labour’s Ms Harman will stand down after 40 years in parliament representing Camberwell and Peckham.

Kate Green MP

The Stretford and Urmston MP and former shadow education secretary has represented her seat for Labour since 2010.

Wayne David MP

We imagine this Labour MP thought Caerphilly (sorry) about this decision before opting to stand down from the Welsh seat.

Adam Afriyie MP

He is the Conservative MP for Windsor.

Alex Cunningham MP

This Labour MP’s plan may or may not be cunning, but he’s standing down as the MP for Stockton North.

Charles Walker MP

Mr Walker – who found fame last month for venting his frustration with Liz Truss’s premiership - has represented Broxbourne in Hertfordshire for the Conservative Party since 2005.

Ben Bradshaw MP

Not to be confused with Tory MP Ben Bradley, Labour’s Mr Bradshaw will be an Exeter at the next election (so sorry).

Dr Alan Whitehead MP

We imagine being an MP may well have been testing from time to time, but Labour’s Mr Whitehead will be standing down as Southampton, Test’s MP at the next general election.

Margaret Hodge MP

The Labour MP has represented Barking since 1994.

Margaret Beckett MP

Another Margaret and another Labour MP, Ms Beckett has represented Derby South since 1983.

Paul Blomfield MP

Sheffield Central’s MP will not contest the seat again for Labour at the next election.

Barry Sheerman MP

A Labour and Co-operative MP, he has served Huddersfield since 1979.

Crispin Blunt MP

Conservative MP Mr Blunt, who made headlines last year for branding former Wakefield MP Imran Ahmad Khan’s conviction for child sexual assault an “international scandal”, will not stand to represent Reigate next time around.

Until then, the LGBTQ+ rights campaigner – who happens to be actress Emily Blunt’s uncle – has said he will “continue to call out long-established populist views on policy shibboleths that continue to cause damage to our society and beyond”.

Well then.

Chris Skidmore MP

Conservative MP and Mr Sunak's net zero tzar Mr Skidmore said he would step down at the next election because "parliamentary boundary changes will result in the Kingswood constituency ceasing to exist".

"With no alternative seat, I have decided that I do not wish to fight another constituency elsewhere in the region or country, especially with a very young family who deserve to see more of their family in their lives," he said in a statement.

Nigel Adams MP

Representing Selby and Ainsty for the Conservative Party, Mr Adams will stand down when the UK goes to the polls again. He’s a former minister, and is reportedly set to join the House of Lords at the next election, too, thanks to former prime minister Boris Johnson’s resignation honours list.

Speaking of…

Alister Jack and Alok Sharma (maybe)

Scottish secretary Mr Jack and former Cop26 president Mr Sharma are also – according to The Times – set to be handed peerages in Johnson’s aforementioned list.

Though the paper reports that the ousted PM and lawbreaker has requested the pair, Ms Dorries and Mr Adams be given their honours at the next general election, so no by-elections are triggered.

Yet the ability to ‘delay’ when a Lord's appointment is made has caused a bit of a scandal, as The National reports that that requires a “special dispensation” from the King – one who should really be kept out of political dramas.

While no list has been confirmed just yet, it comes down to current PM Rishi Sunak to “advise the sovereign on proposals for peerages”, Baroness Neville-Rolfe told the House of Lords earlier this month.

As noted by The National, it comes down to Mr Sunak as to whether he agrees with Mr Johnson’s eventual nominations and a pause in the MPs joining the Lords (making things tricky for King Charles), or whether he vetoes their honours altogether (upsetting Boris Johnson).

Anyway, back to MPs standing down, and The Guardian reports that it understands a deadline of 5th December has been given to MPs to determine whether they want to contest again or stand down, so we could see more names added to the above list in a few weeks’ time.

Sajid Javid MP

The high profile Tory MP who has held numerous ministerial positions announced on 2 December that he won't stand again.

He said: "After much reflection I have decided that I will not be standing again at the next General Election.

"Serving as the Member of Parliament for Bromsgrove remains an incredible privilege, and I will continue to support the Government and the causes I believe in."

Matt Hancock MP

In a letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Matt Hancock wrote: “I am writing to tell you that I do not intend to stand for the Conservatives at the next General Election. I am very grateful for my conversation with the Chief Whip last week, in which he made clear he would restore the whip in due course, but that is now not necessary.

“It has been a huge honour to serve as Member of Parliament for West Suffolk over the past twelve years. I am very proud of what we achieved, including the establishment of three Free Schools, dualling of the A11, supporting the horseracing industry, and expanding Newmarket Hospital. I will of course continue to represent all my constituents between now and the next election.

“I am incredibly proud of what we achieved in my nine years in Government: the massive expansion of Apprenticeships, the introduction of Traineeships, support for small and growing businesses, the digitisation of public services and starting to establish rules for the digital economy, restoring the nation’s finances, support for the NHS with record numbers of doctors and nurses, and of course the response to the pandemic: the first vaccine in the world, and a shorter lockdown, fewer jobs lost, and lower mortality than comparable countries.

“I am incredibly grateful for the loyal members of my team in Suffolk, in Parliament, in Government, and in the NHS who helped make all this possible. I am proud to have supported you to become Prime Minister and wish you the best in facing the challenges ahead.

“The Conservative Party must now reconnect with the public we serve. There was a time when I thought the only way to influence the public debate was in Parliament, but I’ve realised there’s far more to it than that. I have increasingly come to believe that for a healthy democracy we must find new ways to reach people – especially those who are disengaged with politics. The revival of modern conservatism over the next decade will I suspect take place as much outside Parliament as in it.

“For my part, I want to do things differently. I have discovered a whole new world of possibilities which I am excited to explore – new ways for me to communicate with people of all ages and from all backgrounds. I look forward to championing the issues that are dear to my heart, including better support for dyslexic children who get a raw deal from the education system.

“It has been an honour to serve in Parliament and represent the people of West Suffolk. I will play my part in the debate about the future of our country and engage with the public in new ways.”

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