Yet Another Senior Tory MP Is Quitting Parliament As The Party Heads For Defeat

Chris Heaton-Harris is the latest Tory MP to say they are standing down.
Chris Heaton-Harris is the latest Tory MP to say they are standing down. Future Publishing via Getty Images

A cabinet minister has become the latest Tory MP to announce they are quitting parliament as the party braces itself for election defeat.

Northern Ireland secretary Chris Heaton-Harris said it had been an “honour and a privilege” to represent Daventry since being elected in 2010.

But in a letter to Rishi Sunak, he said: “I feel the time is right for me to look for new challenges.”

He is the 65th serving Conservative MP to announce they will not be seeking re-election.

That total is edging ever-closer to the 75 Tory MPs who said they were standing down ahead of the 1997 Labour landslide.

Announcing his decision on X (formerly Twitter), Heaton-Harris, who was a Tory MEP for 10 years before entering the Commons, said: “After 24 years in politics I won’t be standing at the next election.

“It’s been an honour and a privilege to serve and I’d like to thank the good people of Daventry, Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak for putting their trust in me.

“I started as a campaigner and I’ll be out campaigning for Conservatives at the next election because we are the only party that has and can deliver for the whole of the United Kingdom.”

In his letter to the prime minister, Heaton-Harris said he planned to remain as Northern Ireland secretary “but obviously would understand if you feel it best to replace me”.

His announcement comes as the Tories continue to trail well behind Labour in the opinion polls and with election experts unanimous in their view that the party is heading for a heavy defeat when the election takes place later this year.