Sunday, November 27, 2022

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Rising star and veteran Tory says they won’t stand again amid election slump

Rising Minister Dehenna Davison, who is regarded as a rising star in the Tory party, has joined a veteran Conservative in announcing she will step down at the next election.

Ms Davison, who became Bishop Auckland’s first Conservative MP in 2019, is the latest in a steady stream of Tories detailing their exit plans amid an electoral slump.

The 29-year-old’s announcement came shortly after Sir Gary Streeter said he would no longer stand as a candidate in the South West Devon constituency, which he has comfortably held since its creation in 1997.

She is a prominent figure in the so-called red wall of former Labor strongholds that Boris Johnson was able to conquer for the Tories in the last general election.

In a statement, Ms Davison said: “Throughout my adult life I have devoted most of my time to politics and helping to make people’s lives better.

“But, to be honest, it meant I didn’t have a normal life for a twenty-something.

“I will always be humbled to have had the opportunity to serve as an MP. But now it seems time for me to dedicate myself more to life outside of politics – mainly to my family and their support as they have supported me.

“That’s why I won’t stand as a candidate in the next federal election.”

Brought into government by Liz Truss, Ms Davison remained in the role under Rishi Sunak when he took over as prime minister and her prospects in the party appeared bright.

But the eighth Tory MP to indicate he will no longer stand as a candidate will further spook the party as it lags far behind Labor in opinion polls.

Ms Davison won Bishop Auckland by a majority of 7,962 in 2019, despite the constituency having always voted Labor since 1935.

Sir Gary, the former shadow secretary for international development, whose announcement came a little earlier on Twitter, said he believed the prime minister “will recover strongly from recent challenges”.

However, he said a local replacement had to be selected in the constituency “to give us the best chance of holding that seat” and hinted at some doubts.

In the 2019 general election, Sir Gary won the seat by 21,430 votes, beating second-place Labour.

“It has been an honor and privilege to represent this constituency for over 30 years, but the time has come for me to step down and let a younger person take over,” said the 67-year-old.

“I really hope that a local candidate will be chosen that will give us the best chance of holding that seat.

“I am very confident that under the leadership of Rishi Sunak, our country will recover strongly from recent challenges.”

Senior Conservatives such as Chloe Smith and William Wragg also announced this week that they will not seek re-election.

The party is poised for a growing exodus as opinion polls suggest the Conservatives face an almighty challenge to regain their popularity.

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