Wed, 24 April 2024

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By Bishop of Leeds
Press releases

Philip Hammond announces he will not stand at general election after losing Tory whip

2 min read

Philip Hammond has announced that he will not stand at the general election after being stripped of the Conservative whip.

The former Chancellor said he had been left with no option because he would have been kicked out the party altogether if he had run as an independent candidate.

Mr Hammond was among the 21 Tory MPs to have the party whip withdrawn over their support for the Benn Act which forced an extension to the Brexit deadline.

In a letter to his constituents, the MP for Runnymede and Weybridge, said: "I am saddened to find myself in this position after 45 years of Conservative Party membership, 22 years’ service as a Conservative MP, 12 years as an opposition frontbench spokesperson and over 9 years as a Cabinet minister…

“The Conservative Party that I have served has always had room for a wide range of opinions and has been tolerant of measured dissent. Many parliamentary colleagues have defied the party whip on occasions without any action being taken against them.

“But however aggrieved I feel at the loss of the whip, and however strongly I believe that we must deliver Brexit through a comprehensive trade agreement with the EU to protect British jobs and prosperity, I remain a Conservative and I cannot, therefore, embark upon a course of action that would represent a direct challenge in a General Election to the party I have supported all my adult life.

“I will remain an active party member and I will continue to make the case for doing whatever is necessary to deliver a negotiated close future trade and security partnership between the UK and EU.”

Meanwhile former health minister, Anne Milton, another of the 21 Benn Act rebels, announced that she will run in her Guildford seat as an independent.

In a statement, she said: "I want to represent my constituency without being bound by party politics. People have become increasingly frustrated by political parties and their inability to work together for the common good and I believe Guildford needs a credible alternative."

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