Justine Greening hits out at Boris Johnson as she announces plan to quit as MP at next election

Posted On: 
3rd September 2019

Former education secretary Justine Greening has announced she is standing down at the next election with a stinging attack on Boris Johnson.

Justine Greening said she will not be standing as a Conservative again
Credit: 
PA Images

The senior MP accused the Tories of “becoming the Brexit Party” under the current Prime Minister, and said he is offering Britain a "lose-lose" situation.

Ms Greening, who has also served as international development secretary, said she can no longer stand as a Conservative as they cannot “offer people a sensible choice” at an election.

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She is one of at least a dozen of Mr Johnson’s MPs who have declared they will defy him and vote for an opposition bill attempting to block a no-deal Brexit.

It comes despite Number 10 threatening to withdraw the party whip and prevent them from running as Tory candidates in the widely-expected snap poll later this year.

On Tuesday the former Chancellor Philip Hammond promised to give Downing Street "the fight of a lifetime" if they try to oust him from the party.

But Ms Greening, who has represented Putney since 2005, says she would not fight deselection.

Speaking to the BBC's Today programme she said: "I will not be standing as a Conservative candidate at the next election.

"I want to focus on making a difference on the ground on social mobility and I believe I can do that better outside Parliament than inside Parliament. We have seen Parliament gridlocked by Brexit.

"I will continue to represent my community, that heavily voted to remain, on Brexit. I have no doubt that the person following me will also represent our community on Brexit."

The ex-Cabinet minister, who has backed a second referendum, said: "It is pretty basic - the job of an MP for me is to be Putney's voice in Parliament.

"That's certainly what I have sought to do, and I will do that today in making sure we pass this Bill hopefully through Parliament on Wednesday.

"My concerns about the Conservative Party becoming the Brexit Party, in effect, have come to pass and my decision is that if I really want to make a difference on the ground and on social mobility, then I need to do that outside Parliament.

“That's what I'm prepared to do."

She added: "I don't believe that the Conservative Party will offer people a sensible choice at the next election in respect of the fact that Boris Johnson is going to offer people a general election that faces them with the choice of a no-deal or Jeremy Corbyn.

"That is a lose-lose general election for Britain.

“I think a far better way of resolving a way forward on Brexit is to give the British people a direct choice on the different options for Brexit themselves rather than a messy general election which I believe all the evidence suggests will be, yet again, inconclusive on a way forward on Brexit."