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Sussex MP and Cabinet Office minister to stand down

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude will step down as an MP at the general election, the Conservatives have confirmed. The veteran Tory MP for Horsham said that 32 years after entering Parliament it was time to "make way for a younger candidate".

Francis Maude to stand down Credit: Press Association

I was first elected to the House of Commons in 1983 just before I was 30, and will be nearly 67 by the time of the election in 2020. Public service continues to exercise great appeal. However, 27 years is a long time to serve as a Member of Parliament, and I believe now is the right time to make way for a younger candidate to carry the Conservative flag in Horsham.

– Francis Maude MP
MP Francis Maude leaves politics Credit: Press Association

Mr Maude entered the House of Commons in 1983 as MP for North Warwickshire, where he served until 1992. After five years out of office he returned as MP for Horsham in 1997, a seat he has held since. Mr Maude took up ministerial roles under former prime ministers Margaret Thatcher and Sir John Major, including in the Treasury and Foreign Office, before returning to Government under David Cameron in the Cabinet Office. He won his seat at the 2010 General Election with a majority of 11,460 over the Liberal Democrats.


The Last Word, May 2014

In this month's Last Word, one week to go to the local and the European Elections. Maria Caulfield who is the Conservative candidate for Lewes; Layla Moran who hopes to win Oxford West & Abingdon for the LibDems; Harry Aldirdge who is fightng Guildford for UKIP;

and Rowenna Davis who is Labour's candidate in Southampton Itchen.

  1. David Johns (@davidjohns_itv)

Danny Alexander MP in Eastbourne

With just over two weeks until the county council elections, the Chief Secretary to The Treasury, Danny Alexander, hit the campaign trail in the south east today. He came to Eastbourne, where the Lib Dems have achieved major success.

But the latest opinion polls suggest heavy losses for the party on May the 2nd. David Johns' report contains some flash photography.


MP crashes car into a shop, portable toilet and three cars

An Oxfordshire MP has lost control of his car and crashed it into a shop, three other stationary cars and a portable toilet.

The MP for North Oxfordshire, Sir Tony Baldry, said he had tried to park his automatic black Mercedes - before the vehicle veered through a car park and hit the wall of a Poundland store in Banbury. No-one was injured in the incident.

Sir Tony Baldry MP Credit: Tony Baldry

Government may spend millions on train company bail-out

The company which run train services on the Brighton line may need millions of pounds Government money to keep running services from next year, it has been revealed.

Southern, which provides commuter services between London and the South Coast, has been hit by the double-dip recession.

Passenger numbers are not growing by as much as expected and under a complex deal it is entitled to Government subsidy if fewer passengers than expected use services from next September.

Earlier this week Meridian revealed the latest figures show passengers number have risen this year by just over one per cent. That is half the figure of the previous year.

MP to spearhead campaign against HS2

Cheryl Gillan Credit: PA

The campaign against the proposed new high speed rail link (HS2) through Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire has a powerful new ally following the cabinet reshuffle this week.

Cheryl Gillan, the MP for Chesham and Amersham, who was sacked from the Cabinet is to spearhead a Tory opposition campaign against the Government's plans to build the rail link between London, Birmingham and the north.

The MP for Chesham and Amersham backs the campaign Credit: PA

Mrs Gillan, who was dismissed as Welsh Secretary, said she was determined to oppose the £32bn project, following her removal from the Government.

The MP, who fought an unsuccessful battle to remain in post, told her local newspaper that she felt "liberated" to speak out against the HS2 project, which would cut through her Chesham constituency in Buckinghamshire.

"I know people in my constituency were frustrated with what they saw as a lack of action on my part and I completely understand that," she said.

Several remaining ministers with seats along HS2's planned route are known to share her views, but have been forced to curb their public criticism.

They include Aylesbury MP David Lidington who is a Minister at the Foreign Office and John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons, who represents Buckingham. Both oppose the plan but criticism has been low key because of the jobs they do in the Commons.

Mrs Gillan's move will give fresh impetus to the anti-HS2 campaign at a moment when responsibility for the scheme has been taken over by the new Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin.

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