Which MPs are stepping down this year and why?

The majority of MPs stepping down this year are Tories. Credit: PA/ ITV

Former prime minister Theresa May announced on Friday she was stepping down as an MP, joining a growing number of politicians standing down before the election.

Out of the 96 MPs who have announced they won't fight their seats at the next election, almost 60 of them are Tories.

That's nearing the record breaking 75 who stood down in the lead-up to the 1997 Labour landslide.

While Mrs May had a 27-year career in politics, stepping down at the age of 67, some of the MPs who are standing down have been politicians for a relatively short time.

It's no coincidence that more Conservatives are leaving as the outlook for the government in the polls worsens.

A poll by Ipsos on Monday said public confidence in the Tories has plunged to the lowest level since 1978, putting them 27 points behind Labour.

Labour has said the large number of departures shows there is “no confidence” in Rishi Sunak, while Conservative minister Gareth Davies said it was “reasonable” for people to stand down and “this is what happens when you approach a new election”.

But who are some of the MPs stepping down and why?

Theresa May

Former prime minister Theresa May. Credit: PA

The former prime minister announced she was stepping down on Friday, to "champion causes" close to her heart including the fight against modern slavery.

Mrs May was first elected as MP for Maidenhead in 1997, and served as home secretary under David Cameron between 2010 and 2016 before succeeding him as prime minister.

She's became known for a number of viral moments, including when she said the naughtiest thing she ever did was "run through fields of wheat", and some slightly awkward dance moves.

But her time as prime minister was also dominated by desperate attempts to deliver Brexit among Tory infighting, and the controversial "hostile environment" policy she brought in when she was home secretary.

Matt Hancock

Matt Hancock was forced to resign as health secretary after he broke lockdown rules when he had an affair with his aide. Credit: ITV/Shutterstock

Matt Hancock is the MP for West Suffolk, and announced he was standing down at the election in 2022 after appearing on reality TV show I'm a Celebrity.

Mr Hancock said he had "discovered a whole new world of possibilities which I am excited to explore".

He said politicians should find "new ways to reach people - especially those who are disengaged with politics".

Mr Hancock was health secretary during Covid but was forced to resign after he broke lockdown rules when he had an affair with his colleague Gina Coladangelo.

Ben Wallace

Ben Wallace has said he wants to 'finish this job and get back to normality'. Credit: PA

Ben Wallace was defence secretary from 2019-2023 and is MP for Wyre and Preston North.

He stood down as defence secretary at the same time as announcing he wouldn't be running as an MP at the next election.

He was the longest continuously serving minister in government.

Mr Wallace told the Sunday Times: "I want to finish this job and get back to normality".

His seat is also due to be abolished because of boundary changes.

Sajid Javid

Sajid Javid left the Tory cabinet after losing confidence in Boris Johnson's leadership.

Former health secretary Sajid Javid is the MP for Bromsgrove.

He announced he was stepping down in 2022, and said the decision was one he had "wrestled with for some time".

Mr Javid was first elected in 2010 and served in cabinet from 2014 until 2020, quitting after he said he lost confidence in Boris Johnson.

Dominic Raab

Dominic Raab's constituency of Esher is a key target for the Liberal Democrats. Credit: PA

Dominic Raab announced he was stepping down in May 2023, a month after he resigned as a minister when a bullying inquiry found he was "intimidating" towards officials.

His decision not to run again was first reported in the Telegraph, who he told he was worried about "the pressure the job has placed on my young family".

His seat of Esher and Walton, in Surrey, is a key target for the Liberal Democrats.

Kwasi Kwarteng

Kwasi Kwarteng said it has been an 'honour' to serve the people of Spelthorne. Credit: PA

The former chancellor oversaw the disastrous 'mini-budget' in 2022 and was sacked by Liz Truss after less than 40 days in office.

Mr Kwarteng represents the seat of Spelthorne in Surrey.

He posted on X: “It has been an honour to serve the residents of Spelthorne since 2010, and I shall continue to do so for the remainder of my time in Parliament.”

Mike Freer

Mike Freer said he and his staff decided to wear stab-proof vests at public events following threats. Credit: PA

While not as high profile or a minister, in February Tory MP Mike Freer also announced he was stepping down from his seat, but specifically because of concerns about his safety.

He said: "Since my election as MP in 2010 I have sadly had several serious threats to my personal safety.

"The attacks by Muslims Against Crusades, Ali Harbi Ali and the recent arson attack (where the motives remain unclear) have weighed heavily on me and my husband, Angelo."

The MP and his staff decided to wear stab vests when attending scheduled public events in his constituency after learning that Ali Harbi Ali had watched his Finchley office before going on to knife Sir David to death during a constituency surgery in 2021.

A number of MPs have raised concerns about their safety in recent months, particularly since the Hamas attack in Israel on October 7.


Some high profile Labour MPs are also stepping down, including Mother of the House Harriet Harman, and veteran MP Margaret Hodge.

Ms Harman has spent 40 years in Parliament, fighting 10 elections.

MP for Barking, Margaret Hodge has been in Parliament for 27 years, saying in a video message where she announced she was stepping down that she "loved the job" and the decision to leave was "really tough".

Ms Hodge said she was most proud of defeating Nick Griffin of the far-right British National Party in 2010.

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