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By Lord Watson of Wyre Forest
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Former Work And Pensions Secretary Chloe Smith To Quit As Tory MP At Next Election

Chloe Smith said she will not seek re-election and is to stand down as an MP (Alamy)

3 min read

MP for Norwich North and former cabinet minister Chloe Smith has announced she will stand down at the next election as she feels it is “the right time to step back, for me and my young family”.

Smith will not seek re-election, having won her Norwich North seat from Labour and then held it a further four times. A general election must be called before the end of 2024.

“I have been honoured to be Norwich North’s MP. It’s a fantastic job for a fantastic place, and it’s a particular privilege to be able to represent Norwich and Norfolk where I come from,” Smith in a statement posted on her constituency website on Tuesday. 

“I am grateful to the thousands of Norwich citizens who placed their trust in me so many times.  

“I would also like to thank my team of volunteers who work so hard alongside me to help the community, and who have been so supportive, including during tough personal times. 

“I hope I’ve been able to make a difference, locally and nationally. In 2024, after fifteen years of service, it will be the right time to step back, for me and my young family.”

First elected in 2009 aged just 27, Smith was the youngest MP in the Commons, the so-called “Baby of the House”, and embarked on a 10-year ministerial career in several government departments under four Conservative Prime Ministers.

Most recently, Smith served a brief stint as Work and Pensions Secretary in Liz Truss's short-lived government from September to October this year. She returned to the backbenches, replaced by Mel Stride, when Rishi Sunak was appointed prime minister just under a month ago. 

The 40-year-old, who has two children, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020, but announced the following year that after treatment she was cancer-free.

She first won her seat at a by-election when sitting Labour MP Ian Gibson was forced to resign as a result of the MPs' expenses scandal.

In 2011 she was appointed Economic Secretary to the Treasury, where she became infamous for a disastrous interview with Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman, after Smith was sent on to the programme to defend the then-Chancellor George Osborne's decision to delay plans to increase fuel duty.

She was moved to the Cabinet Office in 2012, before resigning a year later to "concentrate on the most important part of my job: being the Member of Parliament for Norwich North”.

Following the 2017 election she was brought back into government by Theresa May as a minister in the Northern Ireland Office, before returning to the Cabinet Office as the Parliamentary Undersecretary for the Constitution in 2018, and was promoted to Minister of State by Boris Johnson in 2020.

Last September during a Cabinet reshuffle, Smith became disabilities minister, and a year later was appointed Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. But her time in Cabinet was cut short after Truss's swift exit from Downing Street.

Chairman of the Norwich Conservatives, Simon Jones, said the local party was "sad" to see Smith decide to step down. 

“She has been a loyal servant for the people of Norwich North and has worked hard to represent them in Parliament," he said.

"I do not know of an MP who is as diligent as Chloe;  even while she was being treated for cancer she continued to work hard for the residents of Norwich. 

“We will select a strong Conservative candidate for the 2024 General Election. Whoever is elected to follow her will have a hard job to live up to the standards Chloe has set.” 

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