General Election campaign means the end of a Parliamentary career for Harlow MP Rob Halfon

The start of the campaign marks the end of the road for a number of MPs
The start of the campaign marks the end of the road for a number of MPs Credit: ITV News Anglia

For a political party whose campaign is focused on continuity even the Conservatives are not immune to change.

One Tory for whom that change is coming slightly earlier than anticipated is Rob Halfon.

The Harlow MP had already announced he would not be contesting the upcoming election, but like most of the country, he had expected his time in the Commons would end in the Autumn.

"It's a shock, I'm really sad to be going so quickly." he said. "I thought that I would have had a few months at least till September or October to say goodbye to people in Harlow properly, go round to places I love like Harlow College, the schools, and community bodies and some of the businesses.

"But also to say goodbye to people here. Even people like the doorkeepers who look after the place who are really kind wonderful people and the staff. Now I'm literally packing up as I only have a few more days here."

Rob Halfon campaigning in 2010 Credit: ITV News Anglia

Mr Halfon isn't the only MP to be ending their Parliamentary career. More than 100 MPs will effectively end their career when Parliament is dissolved next week.

Also leaving the Commons the likes of Matt Hancock, Dr Dan Poulter, and Northern Ireland Secretary and MP for Daventry, Chris Heaton-Harris.

Mr Halfon said: "I decided to be an MP when I was 10-years-old. I feel emotional even talking to you about that actually and I was very lucky.

"I've loved being MP for Harlow. I felt I shouldn't outstay my welcome... so it's a bit of a shock to the system I have to say."

He denies his decision is because he feared losing his seat.

"Genuinely that was not the case. I was very lucky, the residents gave me a majority of 14,000 and we have had some favourable boundary changes in getting some Conservative wards from Saffron Walden."

"I really believe I could have held the seat, it would have been a challenge, absolutely. I feel that much of my life has been in Parliament I was a former Chief of staff to a senior Conservative and I think it is important not to outstay your welcome, I think I've been lucky to be here."

One thing he won't miss?

"We are in my office, and there's always mice running around the place. We have to put everything in plastic within plastic, so they can't open as they are very clever mice, They eat everything, teabags, you name it."

The former minister, who has held the seat, since 2010, has long campaigned for skills and apprenticeships as a driver for social change. He says that is what he wants to focus on as his post-Parlaiamentary cam,paing.

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