Tue, 04 Jun 2019
North West Hampshire MP Kit Malthouse has withdrawn his bid to be the next leader of the Conservative Party.
Mr Malthouse, whose constituency includes Tadley, Kingsclere and Highclere, announced last week that he was standing to replace Theresa May as party leader.
The housing minister and former deputy mayor of London under leadership candidate Boris Johnson said last week: "We need to end the Brexit paralysis, and while I voted to leave the EU, I know that without unity across the UK, we cannot get a deal over the line.
"It's time for a new generation to lead the charge into our future with boldness and vision."
But this evening (Tuesday) Mr Malthouse announced that he was withdrawing from the leadership contest.
In a statement on Twitter he said: "When I announced my intention to seek the leadership of the Conservative Party, I did so believing that I could make a real difference in delivering a Brexit that would command the support of the House of Commons.
"After 20 years in front line politics as a councillor, deputy mayor, MP and minister, I also wanted to lead a new generation of Conservatives stepping forward at a time of profound change in our country.
"But the experience has also made me a realist and the last few days have demonstrated that there is an appetite for this contest to be over quickly and for the nation to have a new leader in place as soon as possible.
"As such, it seems right to me that I withdraw my candidature and wish those remaining the very best, always recognising there are going to be very challenging times ahead."
Mr Malthouse, who backed Leave in the EU referendum, put forward the failed Malthouse Compromise in March, which proposed to delay Brexit until May 22 to enable a managed no-deal Brexit.
The compromise would have also renegotiated the Irish backstop and replaced it with a free trade agreement using technology to avoid customs checks on the Irish border.
The transition period would also have been extended until December 2021 to provide added time for a new trading relationship to be agreed.
Mr Malthouse had gained the support of Newbury MP Richard Benyon, who said that Mr Malthouse "represented a new generation of thought in the Conservative Party.
“He’s a unifier and has proved his ability to bring people together on the issue of Brexit, but more importantly I think he has a real plan for the future," Mr Benyon added.
Reacting to Mr Malthouse pulling out of the leadership race Mr Benyon said on Twitter
Sad that you have decided to pull out. You have a huge future in British politics https://t.co/1LNs74QGnR— Richard Benyon (@RichardBenyonMP) June 4, 2019
See Thursday's Newbury Weekly News for more.