Election 24

Gove joins growing list of Tory MPs to stand down

Michael Gove
Michael Gove: it has taken its toll

Rishi Sunak will have to substantially rebuild his team if he returns to Downing Street after Michael Gove became the latest Tory MP to announce he will not be seeking re-election on 4 July.

Mr Gove, 56, who has held a number of Cabinet posts, is stepping down after nearly 20 years in the Commons, saying his service as a minister across five government departments had been the honour of his life.

However, in a social media post, Mr Gove said it had taken a toll on his personal life and he admitted to having made mistakes during his career.

He had already said earlier this week that he would not stand for Tory leader should Mr Sunak stand down.

The tally of Tory MPs not seeking re-election has reached 76, exceeding the number who quit in the run-up to Tony Blair’s landslide victory in 1997.

Dame Eleanor Laing, the deputy speaker of the House of Commons, and Conservative MP for Epping Forest, is also leaving parliament. The former pupil of St Columba’s School in Kilmacolm, Renfrewshire, was first elected during Labour’s landslide win 1997. She has served as deputy speaker for over a decade.

Dame Andrea Leadsom, a former party leadership candidate will not run for re-election, nor will former Prime Minister Theresa May. Northern Ireland secretary Chris Heaton-Harris is another who will not seek to return to the Commons.

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