Two more Conservative MPs have said they will not stand at the next election, as the party gears up to select its parliamentary candidates.
The veteran Sir Gary Streeter and Dehenna Davison, who was thought of as a rising star, were the latest Tories to decide it was time to leave the Commons, with recent opinion polls predicting the Conservatives could lose more than 200 seats.
Davison’s departure may surprise many, as the 29-year-old has just become a junior minister in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and represents one of the hard-won “red wall” constituencies, a seat she took in the 2019 election. She became Bishop Auckland’s first Conservative MP with a majority of around 8,000.
“For my whole adult life, I’ve dedicated the vast majority of my time to politics, and to help make people’s lives better,” she said in a statement. “But, to be frank, it has meant I haven’t had anything like a normal life for a twentysomething.
“I will always be humbled to have had the opportunity to serve as a member of parliament. But now the time feels right for me to devote more of my attention to life outside politics, mainly to my family and helping support them as they’ve helped support me. That’s why I won’t be standing in the next general election.”
Streeter, a former shadow international development secretary, voted for remain in the 2016 EU referendum before later backing Theresa May’s Brexit deal. The 67-year-old MP for South West Devon, who has held the seat since 1997 and has a majority of more than 21,000, told his constituents he had “great confidence” in Rishi Sunak’s leadership, as he announced he would not stand again.
Earlier this week the former work and pensions secretary Chloe Smith and the influential backbencher William Wragg both announced they would be stepping down at the next election.
The Conservative party is braced for a growing exodus of MPs as polls show it facing a huge challenge to recover popularity.
MPs have been asked to indicate if they wish to stand in the next election by 5 December, which also marks the closing of the final consultation on the boundary review, the Guardian understands.