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Former Tory minister Sir Bob Neill to quit as MP at next election

Senior Conservative MP Sir Bob Neill will stand down at the next general election to spend more time with his wife who has suffered a stroke.

Sir Bob, 71, who was first elected as Bromley and Chislehurst MP in a by-election in 2006, was a junior minister in the coalition government under David Cameron until September 2012, and chairs the Commons Justice Committee.

His wife Ann-Louise suffered a stroke in 2019, and Sir Bob announced his decision not to stand at the next general election in a letter to the new Bromley and Biggin Hill Conservative Association.

He said: “As you know, Ann-Louise has been fighting bravely to recover from the stroke that she suffered a while ago.

“It is a tough road for her, but we are very positive about it. Even so, I have concluded that it is right for me to spend more time supporting her.

“She has always been there to support me, and I want to do the same for her and our family.”

Sir Bob Neill
Bob Neill after winning the Bromley and Chislehurst in 2006 (Chris Young/PA Wire)

Sir Bob said in May it will be 50 years since he was first elected as a Conservative councillor, and he has served Bromley for 24 years, first as its London Assembly member, and then MP.

“Please rest assured that I will continue to work as actively as ever for my constituents until this Parliament is dissolved,” Sir Bob said, adding he was confident the Conservatives would win the new Bromley and Biggin Hill seat.

He concluded with a tribute to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, saying he was “giving the country the honest, diligent and pragmatic leadership that our country deserves and which is in the best traditions of our party”.

Sir Bob had a majority of nearly 11,000 over Labour at the last general election in December 2019, an increased majority of 3.3%.

He was born and educated in Hornchurch in east London, had a career as a barrister specialising in criminal law, was made Conservative Party vice-chairman for local government in 2012, has chaired the justice committee for nine years, was knighted just after the last general election and is an avid fan of West Ham United.

Sir Bob joins a series of MPs who have announced their intention not to contest the next election, which is expected in autumn this year.

On Wednesday, justice minister Mike Freer said he will stand down at the next general election after a series of death threats and an arson attack on his constituency office.

He won his Finchley and Golders Green seat in north London by around 6,600 votes at the last contest in 2019, and has been an MP since 2010.