Stewart announces he's standing down at next election

Penrith and Border MP Rory Stewart has said he will be [**standing down**](http://Border and Penrith MP Rory Stewart formally resigns) at the next general election and has resigned from the Conservative Party.

The ex-international development secretary, who resigned from government in July, announced the news on social media.

He expressed his "sadness" over his decision to quit, just three months after he was competing to lead the party.

Mr Stewart said: "It’s been a great privilege to serve Penrith and The Border for the last ten years, so it is with sadness that I am announcing that I will be standing down at the next election, and that I have also resigned from the Conservative Party."

Mr Stewart, who served in Theresa May's cabinet, was one of 21 Tory rebels who had the whip removed by Mr Johnson after defying party line in the Commons by backing a move designed to block a no-deal Brexit.

Former cabinet colleague Amber Rudd tweeted:

Former Liberal Democrats leader Tim Farron, the MP for neighbouring Westmorland and Lonsdale, tweeted: "This is a huge loss. Rory has been a strong voice for Cumbria and for decency, moderation and common sense."

MSP Finlay Carson who stands for Dumfries and Galloway shared his thoughts on Twitter: "I am so sad and sorry to hear this! You were the one candidate for PM who everyone I spoke to, whatever their political leanings, had respect for your approach in re-uniting a divided UK.I wish you well in the future Rory!"

A Conservative spokesman said: “We would like to thank Rory for his hard work and wish him all the best for the future. We will be selecting our parliamentary candidate for Penrith and the Border in due course.”

Carlisle MP John Stevenson says he will be 'sad to see' Rory Stewart go.

More to follow: