Former minister Sir Mike Penning to retire at next general election

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Sir Mike Penning MP in his constituency surgery at Hemel Hempstead - David Rose/For The Telegraph
Sir Mike Penning MP in his constituency surgery at Hemel Hempstead - David Rose/For The Telegraph

Former minister Sir Mike Penning, the Tory MP for Hemel Hempstead, has announced his plans to retire at the next general election.

Sir Mike, who won the seat in 2005, said: "It is with great sadness that I have come to one of the most difficult decisions of my life. After careful discussions with my wife Angie and daughters Adele and Abby, I have decided to retire from front line politics at the next election.

"I will be 67 at the next election and ,while I have by no means reached my 'sell by date', I may be described as having reached my 'best before date' and it is now time to allow a new candidate to come forward."

Sir Mike said he had spoken to both Boris Johnson and his local constituency Conservatives. The next general election is expected to take place in May 2024.

Adviser to the Maastricht rebels

Raised in Essex, he joined the Grenadier Guards after leaving his comprehensive school and served in Northern Ireland, Kenya and Germany.

He then worked as a firefighter and political journalist before becoming media adviser to the Maastricht rebels who had the whip removed by John Major.

Sir Mike was election agent to Sir Teddy Taylor during the 1997 election before being selected for Thurrock in 2001.

After winning Hemel Hempstead by just 449 votes four years later, he went on to serve as a minister for Northern Ireland, disabled people, policing and justice under David Cameron and as minister for the Armed Forces under Theresa May.

Mr Johnson recently appointed him as vice chairman of the Conservative party in charge of candidate selections.

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