Nearly all Tory MPs quitting politics before general election are Remainers

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
Nicky Morgan - who voted Remain in the EU referendum - is the latest Tory to announce she is quitting (PA)

The exodus of Tories ahead of December’s General Election is nearly entirely made up of MPs who voted Remain in the EU referendum.

Senior figures from the moderate wing of the party who are leaving Parliament include former Cabinet ministers Sir Michael Fallon and Sir Patrick McLoughlin, while Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan also announced her decision to step down on Wednesday night.

Former de facto deputy prime minister Sir David Lidington, as well as Boris Johnson's brother, Jo, are also standing down ahead of the poll.

Twenty-five current Tories, including six women, have announced they will not seek re-election when the country votes in December.

Rory Stewart is another prominent Tory Remainer who is standing down at the next election (PA)

Just two of the 25 said they voted Leave in the EU referendum, and many are part of the so-called One Nation caucus of centrist MPs.

The exodus has provoked concern that the Tories will shift further to the right in the next election with the loss of prominent moderates.

The likes of Ms Morgan, Seema Kennedy and Mims Davies, who are widely viewed as being in their political prime, will be seen as a big loss for the party.

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Former Tories Nick Boles, Ken Clarke, Guto Bebb, Sir Oliver Letwin, Justine Greening, Rory Stewart and Amber Rudd are also not seeking reelection and all said they voted to Remain.

Ex-home secretary Ms Rudd said it was "very sad" to see "so many younger Conservative women leaving Parliament”.

However, rather than Brexit, the abuse and threats of violence faced in particular by female parliamentarians has been a factor in some decisions to stand down.

The exodus has provoked concern that the Tories will shift further to the right in the next election (PA)

Announcing her decision, Ms Morgan said: "The clear impact on my family and the other sacrifices involved in, and the abuse for, doing the job of a modern MP can only be justified if, ultimately, Parliament does what it is supposed to do - represent those we serve in all areas of policy, respect votes cast by the electorate and make decisions in the overall national interest.”

Conservative Party chairman James Cleverly said it was "heartbreaking" if his colleagues were leaving because of online and physical abuse.

He tweeted: "MPs need to be resilient, we understand that a political life is unpredictable and very often stressful.

"But hearing so many good colleagues, particularly women, leaving Parliament because of online and physical abuse is heartbreaking.”

In total 67 female Tory MPs were elected in 2017.

Nine of them, 13%, have so far said they are standing down at this election, six who are still Tory MPs, three who are ex Tory MPs.

All of them said they voted Remain in the 2016 referendum except Ms Davies.

By contrast 250 male Tory MPs were elected in 2017.

Twenty four of these have so far said they are standing down, 19 of whom are still Tory MPs, five of whom are ex-Tory MPs.

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