National & International

Former Conservative MP Rory Stewart standing down

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Former Conservative leadership candidate Rory Stewart has said he will be standing down at the next general election.

The MP has also announced he has resigned from the Conservative Party.

Mr Stewart tweeted: “It’s been a great privilege to serve Penrith and The Border for the last ten years.”

He was expelled from the Conservatives in the Commons along with 20 other Brexit rebels but remained a member of the party.

Writing in his local newspaper, The Cumberland and Westmorland Herald, he said: “As you will be aware, I am no longer allowed to run as Conservative MP in Penrith and The Border.

“Because I have loved the constituency so much, I had considered standing as an Independent; but I have decided that I wouldn’t want to run against those Conservative members who have been such wonderful colleagues over the last 10 years.”

Mr Stewart is a former foreign office official who was the deputy governor of two Iraqi provinces before entering politics.

He was elected to the Commons in 2010 and is a former international development secretary and prisons minister.

He did better than initially expected in July’s Conservative leadership contest, making it through the first round of voting after few gave him a chance, and eventually coming fifth.

A Remain supporter in the 2016 referendum, he went on to back the prime minister Theresa May’s withdrawal deal.

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