There’s change in the air as the next general election looms.
Dozens of MPs from all parties have said they will quit the Westminster life rather than slug it out at the polls after a Parliament dogged by chaos and calamity. More than 50 Tories are stepping down, including several in their 20s and 30s, as their party braces for electoral wipeout.
Some Conservative big beasts like ex-Cabinet Ministers Ben Wallace, Sajid Javid and Dominic Raab have also decided to throw in the towel. A number of Labour MPs have also decided to call time on their long Commons careers, including veterans from the New Labour years and some of Parliament’s longest serving politicians. It will mean that no matter the result, the next Parliament will look very different.
Here are the Labour MPs who have decided not to fight the next election.
Alex Cunningham, 68. Majority in Stockton North: 1,027. The Shadow Justice Minister was one of the first to announce he wouldn’t contest the next election back in 2021. He said it was right for him to retire after 30 years in public life.
Dame Margaret Hodge, 79. Majority in Barking: 15,427. The veteran MP is standing down after 30 years in Parliament. She was the first ever Children’s Minister and held a number of top jobs during the New Labour years but was a vocal critic of Jeremy Corbyn, who she accused of anti-Semitism.
Barry Sheerman, 83. Majority in Huddersfield: 4,937. Labour’s longest continuously serving MP has decided to bow out after more than four decades in Parliament. He held several shadow ministerial jobs under Neil Kinnock and John Smith but has been on the back benches since 1994.
Harriet Harman, 73. Majority in Camberwell and Peckham: 33,780. The trail-blazing feminist MP served as ‘Acting’ Labour leader in 2010 before the appointment of Ed Miliband and again in 2015 before Jeremy Corbyn took over. Elected in 1982, she has had several Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet jobs. She led the Privileges Committee probe into Boris Johnson’s Partygate lies.
Karen Buck, 65. Majority in Westminster North: 10,759. Ms Buck has been an MP since 1997, first for Regent’s Park and Kensington North and then newly created marginal seat Westminster North. She held several shadow ministerial roles under Ed Miliband but did not serve when Jeremy Corbyn was leader.
Alan Whitehead, 73. Majority in Southampton Test: 6,213. The long-serving Shadow Energy Minister has been an MP since 1997 but said he “could not give a further five-year commitment to the role of MP at that point, much though I might want to continue in principle”.
Sir Ben Bradshaw, 63. Majority in Exeter: 10,403. The former Culture Secretary became an MP in Tony Blair’s 1997 landslide victory. He said he was stepping down now as he would be “pushing 70” at the next election – and the party was in “good hands” under Keir Starmer.
Wayne David, 66. Majority in Caerphilly: 6,833. The Shadow Middle East and North Africa Minister said he was stepping down due to his age. In a statement on his website, he said he was quitting “with some sadness” but said it was “time to make way for a younger person”.
Paul Blomfield, 70. Majority in Sheffield Central: 27,273. An MP since 2010, Mr Blomfield has had a number of frontbench roles including Shadow Brexit Minister until 2021. He has campaigned to change the law on assisted dying after his father killed himself following a diagnosis of inoperable lung cancer.
Dame Rosie Winterton, 65. Majority in Doncaster Central: 2,278. One of the three Deputy Speakers of the House of Commons since 2017, Dame Rosie is a well known face in Parliament. She had ministerial posts in Tony Blair and Gordon Brown’s Governments and served as Labour’s Chief Whip after 2010.
Dame Margaret Beckett, 81. Majority in Derby South: 6,019. Dame Margaret was named Britain’s first Foreign Secretary in 2006 and served in Cabinet throughout Tony Blair’s Government. She was also Labour’s Deputy Leader from 1992 to 1994 and became the first woman to lead the party, stepping in for a short time after the sudden death of John Smith. She first became an MP in 1974.
Jon Cruddas, 61. Majority in Dagenham and Rainham: 293. Ed Miliband’s former policy chief is stepping down after 21 years. A rebel under Tony Blair, he unsuccessfully stood to be Deputy Leader in 2007 but ruled himself out of the 2010 contest – and instead became a policy chief. He has one of the slimmest majorities in Parliament.
Colleen Fletcher, 69. Majority in Coventry North East: 7,692. Elected in 2015, Ms Fletcher has served as a Labour whip since 2017. She said in 2022 that she would step down to “pursue some new challenges.”
Margaret Greenwood, 64. Majority in Wirral West: 3,003. Ms Greenwood was elected in 2015 after unseating Cabinet Minister Esther McVey by 417 votes in a major upset. She was named Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary by Jeremy Corbyn in 2018 and held the post until 2020. She was Shadow Schools Minister under Keir Starmer but quit to rebel on a vote on undercover policing in 2020.
Sir George Howarth, 74. Majority: 39,942. He was first elected in a by-election in 1986 and went on to hold ministerial roles at the Home Office and Northern Ireland during the New Labour years. He said it was “the right time for a new candidate” after nearly 40 years as an MP.
Christina Rees, 69. Majority in Neath: 5,637. The MP, who was Shadow Welsh Secretary during Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, had the party whip suspended from October 2022 until February 2024 over bullying allegations. The whip was restored but she said she would step down anyway. She had already barred from selection for the newly created Neath and Swansea East seat.
Former Labour MPs
Nick Brown, 73. Majority in Newcastle upon Tyne East: 15,463. The veteran Chief Whip, who has been an MP since 1983, held the position on and off under every Labour leader since Tony Blair. In 2022, he had the whip suspended over an undisclosed complaint, meaning he has been sitting as an independent MP. He said in December he said he would step down and criticised the party complaints process.
Conor McGinn, 39. Majority in St Helens North: 12,209. An MP since 2015, Mr McGinn served as a party whip for several years. He was suspended by Labour in December 2022 following unspecified allegations, which meant he sat as an independent MP. He cited health issues, including a heart condition, among his reasons for stepping down.
If we’ve missed anyone off the list, please get in touch by email at [email protected]