Stafford MP Theo Clarke loses selection bid one week after returning from maternity leave

The parliamentarian, who has recently returned from maternity leave, also revealed that she had been on the receiving end of "abuse" since announcing she was having a baby. Credit: Credit: UK Parliament

The Conservative MP for Stafford has said she is "deeply disappointed" not to have been chosen as the party's candidate for that seat in the next general election.

Theo Clarke announced the outcome of Friday's Stafford Conservative Association selection meeting on Twitter, which took place shortly after her return from maternity leave.

The parliamentarian also revealed she had been on the receiving end off "abuse" since announcing her pregnancy.

She said some people on social media had been critical of her having six months away from Parliament for maternity leave.

The MP was elected for Stafford in 2019 with a majority of more than 14,000.

She is the niece of former business secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg.

In a statement on Twitter, Ms Clarke said: "I am deeply disappointed not to have been adopted this evening as the Conservative candidate to fight the new Stafford constituency at the next general election.

"Living at home in the new constituency and working here, I stood on a record of successfully bringing investment into Stafford such as millions for mental health services and crucial infrastructure."

Ms Clarke said she had "tirelessly campaigned" for investment to "make Stafford an even greater better place to live, work and raise a family".

She added: "I have only returned from maternity leave this week and I have been very disappointed by the abuse that I have received since I announced I was having a baby.

"The selection committee have made their decision and it is my full intention to go to the membership."

The next general election in 2025 will see some constituencies contested under new boundaries as part of an attempt to make voter numbers per MP more equal.

Ms Clarke, who contested the seat of Bristol East at the 2015 and 2017 elections before her success in Stafford in 2019, is the second Tory rejection for seat selection so far.

On Sunday, senior Tory Damian Green was rejected as the party's candidate for the newly created Weald of Kent constituency.

Mr Green has been the MP for Ashford since 1997.

In July, Ms Clarke quit as trade envoy to Kenya as part of a series of resignations in protest at Mr Johnson's leadership.

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