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Rishi Sunak faces growing exodus of Tory MPs as Stephen Hammond will not stand at next election

Conservative MP Stephen Hammond has told his local party association he will not seek nomination at the next election  (PA Archive)
Conservative MP Stephen Hammond has told his local party association he will not seek nomination at the next election (PA Archive)

Rishi Sunak faces a growing exodus of ToryMPs as Stephen Hammond announced he would not stand again in Wimbledon.

The former health minister told his local party of his decision on Thursday evening.

“Tonight at the newly constituted Wimbledon and Malden’s AGM I have announced that I shall not be seeking re-adoption as the Conservative candidate,” he later tweeted.

“It is with a heavy heart I will be standing down at the next General Election. This is a decision I have not made lightly and I thank everybody who has supported me over the last 18 years.”

Ahead of his announcement, 50 Tories had said they will not stand again at the next election, expected next year, or had already stood down, according to a Commons Library paper.

They include former Chancellor Sajid Javid, ex-Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, MP for Esher and Walton, former Environment Secretary George Eustice, and ex-Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries who has quit as MP for Mid-Bedfordshire sparking a by-election on October 19.

Other MPs not standing again include Matthew Offord, Hendon, Crispin Blunt, Reigate, Adam Afriyie, Windsor, Sir Mike Penning, Hemel Hempstead, and some Tories who are now independent such as ex-Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

More MPs are expected to announce they are quitting at the next election as it approaches.

Mr Hammond, who also served as a transport minister, was first elected MP for Wimbledon in May 2005.

A Centrist MP, he opposed some of the Brexit extremes pushed by his party, and lost the party whip at Westminster between 4 September 2019 and 29 October 2019.

Both the Liberal Democrats and Labour have been targeting the south west London seat, with the former seen as currently most likely to possibly defeat the Tories, who are trailing Labour in the polls nationally by around 20 points.

At the 2019 election, Mr Hammond held on as MP by a majority of just 628.

He got 20,373 votes compared to Liberal Democrat Paul Kohler’s 19,745.

MPs are estimated by some experts to be able to build up a personal vote of around 1,000.

Labour held the Wimbledon seat before 2005.