The House of Commons is set lose over 750 years of parliamentary experience in the upcoming election, with several parliamentary greats standing down.
As MPs across the country enter campaign mode, others will be clearing out their desk for the last time.
And while it is quite normal to see a changing of the guard around the time of an election, this year seems to have a more sinister edge to it.
After three years of bitter Brexit feuds, politics has become an increasingly hostile place for parliamentarians.
Heidi Allen, the former Conservative MP turned Lib Dem, yesterday quit politics, exhausted by the “nastiness and intimidation that has become commonplace”.
In May the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police told a Commons committee that threats to MPs were running at “unprecedented” levels, soaring in a year.
Worryingly, these threats are not equally distributed. Female and ethnic-minority MPs are particular targets. In 2017, a Radio 5 Live survey found a third of female MPs had considered quitting as a result.
So before the election takes place and we become embroiled in party politics once again, let’s take a moment to pay tribute to those who have offered so much to our proud democratic system.
Ken Clarke – The ‘father of the house’
Ken Clarke is the longest serving MP in the House of Commons, known as the father of the house, having served his Rushcliffe constituency for almost half a century.
A long-time supporter of the UK’s membership of the EU, he was expelled from the Conservative Party by Boris Johnson, after he rebelled against the government over Brexit.
Sir Nicholas Soames
Grandson of wartime leader Sir Winston Churchill, Sir Nicholas was among those kicked out of the party by Boris Johnson over his opposition to a no-deal Brexit.
He was first elected to Parliament in 1983 for Crawley, and was Minister of State for the Armed Forces from 1994 to 1997 in the government of John Major.
John Bercow – The Speaker
John Bercow received a heart-warming send-off in the House of Commons after ten years in the job.
In addition to being the House of Commons referee, former Conservative John Bercow is the MP for Buckingham, which he has represented since 1997.
Before he announced his decision to step down, the Conservative Party said it intended to break convention and run a candidate against him at the next election.
Dame Caroline Spelman
Dame Caroline cited “the intensity of abuse arising out of Brexit” in her resignation statement.
She had served as the MP for Meriden in the West Midlands since 1997.
From May 2010 to September 2012 she was the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in David Cameron’s coalition cabinet, and was sworn as a Privy Counsellor on 13 May 2010.
Sir Vince Cable
Former party leader – and cabinet minister in the coalition government – Sir Vince Cable has been Member of Parliament for Twickenham since 2017, having also held that position from 1997 to 2015.
In May 2019, Cable led the Liberal Democrats to their best national electoral performance since the 2010 election, gaining fifteen seats in the European Parliament election.
This followed a campaign in which the party ran on an anti-Brexit platform under the slogan, “Bollocks to Brexit”.
Sir Norman Lamb
Former coalition government minister Sir Norman Lamb is leaving Westminster to focus on setting up a fund for people with mental health issues and learning disabilities.
He has been the Member of Parliament for North Norfolk since 2001 and chair of the Science and Technology Select Committee since 2017.
Former Conservative and Change UK MP Heidi Allen only joined the Lib Dems a few weeks ago.
She said she had suffered “utterly dehumanising abuse” as an MP in a letter to her constituents announcing her future intentions.
Sir Oliver Letwin
Sir Oliver, the former Conservative minister and West Dorset MP, was on the receiving end of a barrage of abuse this week as The Sun lambasted him for “killing” Boris Johnson’s deal.
Voted in as an MP for West Dorset in 1997 e served as Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer under Michael Howard and Shadow Home Secretary under Iain Duncan Smith.
He was Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster from 2014 to 2016, a position currently held by Michael Gove.
Sir Patrick McLoughlin
Former miner and former minister Sir Patrick has been in Parliament for 33 years.
He is one of the few Conservative MPs to have been a manual worker before being elected to Parliament.
On 4 September 2012, he was appointed Secretary of State for Transport.
On 14 July 2016, he became Chairman of the Conservative Party and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, under the new administration of Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May.
Former Education Secretary and Brexit rebel Justine Greening said she can “achieve more positive change outside Parliament” when standing down, and will now focus specifically on improving social mobility.
She served as Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities in Theresa May’s Government, as well as holding the Secretary of State for Transport and Secretary of State for International Development under David Cameron’s government.
Ronnie Campbell (Blyth Valley)
Veteran trade unionist, Ronnie Campbell has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Blyth Valley since the 1987 general election.
One-time Conservative leadership candidate and walking enthusiast Rory Stewart (Penrith and the Border) stepped down to fight next year’s London mayoral election as an independent candidate.
In May 2019, he was promoted to the Cabinet as Secretary of State for International Development, before standing against Boris later that year.
Former Home, and Work and Pensions, Secretary Amber Rudd , MP for the ultra-marginal Hastings and Rye seat, resigned from the cabinet and surrendered the Tory whip over Brexit in September.
She had sensationally hit out at Johnson for his attempt to “purge” the Tory party and his “failure” to pursue a deal with the EU, saying she “cannot stand by as good, loyal moderate Conservatives are expelled”.
The current culture secretary, surprised Westminster watchers by announcing her departure, citing the “clear impact” on her family and “the other sacrifices involved in and the abuse for doing the job of a modern MP”.
Sir Michael Fallon
Former Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon has been the MP for Sevenoaks since 1997 and before that MP for Darlington.
At 82, Ann Clwyd is the oldest woman to sit in the House of Commons. The Welsh Labour Party politician served as Member of Parliament for Cynon Valley since 1984.
Others standing down:
Guto Bebb (Aberconwy)
Claire Perry (Devizes)
Alistair Burt (North East Bedfordshire)
Richard Harrington (Watford)
Richard Benyon (Newbury)
David Lidington (Aylesbury)
Jo Johnson (Orpington)
Jeremy Lefroy (Stafford)
Glyn Davies (Montgomeryshire)
Keith Simpson (Broadland)
Nick Hurd (Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner)
Mark Prisk (Hertford and Stortford)
Bill Grant (Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock)
Sir Hugo Swire (East Devon)
David Tredinnick (Bosworth)
Mark Field (Cities of London and Westminster)
Seema Kennedy (South Ribble)
Sarah Newton (Truro and Falmouth)
Mims Davies (Eastleigh)
Sir Alan Duncan (Melton and Rutland)
Peter Heaton-Jones (North Devon)
Jim Fitzparick (Poplar and Limehouse)
Sir Kevin Barron (Rother Valley)
Kate Hoey (Vauxhall)
John Mann (Bassetlaw)
Gloria De Piero (Ashfield)
Owen Smith (Pontypridd)
Louise Ellman (Liverpool Riverside)
Joan Ryan (Enfield North).
Stephen Pound (Ealing North)
Stephen Twigg (Liverpool West Derby)
Roberta Blackman-Woods (City of Durham)
Geoffrey Robinson (Coventry North West)
Teresa Pearce (Erith and Thamesmead)
Paul Farrelly (Newcastle-Under-Lyme)
Albert Owen (Ynys Mon)
Jim Cunningham (Coventry South)
Ian Lucas (Wrexham)
Helen Jones (Warrington North)
Adrian Bailey (West Bromwich West)
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