Nadhim Zahawi to stand down at next general election - which other MPs are joining him?

Nadhim Zahawi to stand down at next general election - which other MPs are joining him?
How it all played out: A timeline of Nadhim Zahawi's tax controversy

Nadhim Zahawi, the former vaccines minister and chancellor of the Exchequer, has become the latest member of parliament to announce they will be standing down at the next general election.

The MP for Stratford-on-Avon shared the news to Twitter/X on Thursday, quoting William Shakespeare (who was born in his constituency) as he confirmed he was ending his parliamentary career after 14 years.

"As my most famous constituent once wrote: 'Go to your bosom; knock there and ask your heart what it doth know'. I have come to feel that the time is right for a new, energetic Conservative to fight for the honour of representing Stratford-on-Avon and assuming the mantle of MP for Shakespeare.

"I will, of course, serve my constituents with dedication and determination until then, and the prime minister, and the Conservative Party, will continue to have my unswerving support into and beyond the next general election," he wrote.

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

He's one of more than 100 MPs to announce their departure when the public next goes to the polls - and one of just over 60 Conservatives standing down.

Here’s a round-up of some of the other big names calling it a day:

Theresa May

Former prime minister and home secretary Theresa May made the "challenging decision" to stand down as an MP at the next general election back in March.

She told her local paper the Maidenhead Advertiser that she enjoyed being a backbencher after her stint as PM "championing causes close to [her] heart" such as the recent launch of the Global Commission on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking, but that "these causes have been taking an increasing amount of my time".

May added: "As I pass the baton on I will be working with my successor to secure a Conservative victory in Maidenhead. I remain committed to supporting Rishi Sunak and the government and believe that the Conservatives can win the election".

Mhairi Black

The Scottish National Party's (SNP) deputy Westminster leader and MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire, 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.

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.

Dehenna Davison

Davison, a former GB News contributor, announced her intention to stand down at the next election on her Facebook page back in November 2022.

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.

Sir Graham Brady

Probably best known as the chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs who receives letters of no confidence in Conservative Party leaders (lord knows he's received plenty of those over the years), Sir Graham announced back in March last year that he was bringing "this fascinating and fulfilling chapter of my life to a close".

Kwasi Kwarteng

His time as chancellor of the Exchequer came to an abrupt end when he was sacked by Liz Truss over the disastrous mini-Budget, now Kwarteng has confirmed he's calling time on his job as an MP.

Alok Sharma

The Cop 26 president said in September that standing down had "not been an easy decision" and that it has been "the honour of my life" to serve as an MP.

Ben Wallace

The former defence secretary told The Times in July in July he was "not standing next time".

Rosie Winterton

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

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.

Ben Bradshaw

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

Sajid Javid

The high profile Tory MP who has held numerous ministerial positions announced in December 2022 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

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.”

There are currently 96 MPs who have said they'll stand down at the next election...

We won't list all of them here (The Independent has a handy interactive map with all the names), but here's the current breakdown by parties:

  • Conservatives: 65
  • Labour: 18
  • Scottish National Party: 9
  • Independent: 8
  • Sinn Féin: 2
  • Green: 1
  • Plaid Cymru: 1

So expect plenty of new faces in the next parliament...

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