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EXCLUSIVE: Newbury MP Richard Benyon announces he won't stand for re-election

"It has been the greatest privilege for me to be elected four times"

Dan Cooper

Dan Cooper

dan.cooper@newburynews.co.uk

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01635 886632

EXCLUSIVE: Newbury MP Richard Benyon announces he won't stand for re-election

NEWBURY'S Conservative MP Richard Benyon has confirmed he won't be standing for re-election.

Mr Benyon, who was first elected in 2005, had the party whip removed after voting against the Government last week.

He joined 328 MPs, 21 of them Conservative, to allow MPs to take control of parliamentary business, the first step towards delaying a no-deal Brexit. 

He said it had been "the greatest privilege for me to be elected four times as MP for this constituency".

In an open letter to the West Berkshire Conservatives, he said: "I am writing to you as chair of West Berkshire Conservatives to let you know about a decision I have made.

"As you know I was fully aware of the implications of voting the way I did last week and was not surprised when the whip was removed following the vote on Tuesday evening.

"I recognise that I cannot stand as a Conservative candidate unless the whip is restored. That said, I have received many calls from colleagues saying that there are plans emerging for a “path back” for the so-called rebels.

"I have been giving much thought to how that could be achieved but feel now that I should let you know my clear intentions. I do not seek to be the candidate at the forthcoming election whenever it is called.

"There are a number of reasons for my decision. I have been active in West Berkshire politics for around 30 years and I have been wondering what my intentions would be if this Parliament ran to its conclusion in 2022.

"I have to be absolutely certain I want to fight an election and give 100 per cent commitment to the arduous job of being a Member of Parliament for another five years.

"As you know it is not something to be undertaken half-heartedly. Whilst recent events have brought this into focus it is actually over a wider timescale that I have been thinking about my future.

"With an election looming I don’t think it is fair to the Association to continue the uncertainty about my being eligible to stand, let alone my willingness.

"I intend to continue to give the role of being the Newbury constituency’s MP my full focus right up until the election is called.

"It is a job I have loved and am proud of what my Parliamentary team, the local Conservative Party and the wonderful group of Councillors in West Berkshire have been able to achieve.

"For me West Berkshire Conservatives and its wide ranging membership are the Conservative Party at its best.

"Without shouting it from the rooftops, over the recent decades we have improved the lives of vulnerable people and supported businesses and the communities we love.

"With the great local leadership that exists in the party and on West Berkshire Council I know that this will continue in the future.

"I hope the association will move forward and be further strengthened by the selection of a good candidate to follow me and I look forward to being able to give him or her my fullest support.

"It has been the greatest privilege for me to be elected four times as MP for this constituency.

"I hope my successor is able to appreciate how lucky they are to represent an area of great opportunity filled with some of the most decent and kind people you could meet anywhere.

"I am happy for this to be shared with the officers of the Association tomorrow morning as I want to inform all my family before making a public statement. Thank you for your support and understanding."

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Article comments

  • Jack C

    11/09/2019 - 13:01

    Good Riddance. The man's been our MP for nearly fifteen years while West Berkshire's towns, high streets and schools have stagnated into mediocrity. I'm sure he's a nice chap, but really what has he done for his constituency in that time? He votes with the government for every cut going (which have hit our local services to a much greater degree than the national average) without hesitation, but won't vote for the one major manifesto pledge that currently matters because... well, I'm still trying to work that out. Apparently in May he announced he's bored with Brexit and wanted to concentrate on climate change. Well if he's so bored with it, why not vote in a way that will end it more quickly, so the country can move on, and he can concentrate better on how he can replace all those EU farming subsidies he currently receives for his estates with Environmental subsidies instead. Like i said, good riddance.

    Reply

  • Pete the Kayaker

    11/09/2019 - 11:11

    I hope there is no "Path back" for those who said they would stand for their manifesto pledges, but repeatedly voted against them. Richard Benyon has shown by his actions that is word is false. He cannot now be trusted, so should the West Berkshire Conservative Party decide to put him forward as a candidate they will have lost my vote.

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    • Jack C

      11/09/2019 - 14:02

      Couldn't agree more. At least he's saved the local party the hassle of a 'will he, wont he' phase. The fact is, he got elected on a manifesto that stated one thing, on the biggest constitutional matter of our times, then voted continuously against much of it once re-elected. The truth is that his actions have helped create a constitutional crisis where a minority government is now being held in office by a rogue Parliament which have contravened all Parliamentary procedure in order to take over the running of house business, without calling a vote of no confidence. This is unprecedented and utterly unconstitutional. Parliament is meant to hold government to account, not decide its business. So, thanks for nothing Richard.

      Reply

  • Newbn00b

    10/09/2019 - 20:08

    I'm still trying to figure out what his reasoning was for voting against the whip, when before he was 100% behind it since the referendum result and recently backed Boris, and is good mates with Gove. Maybe he was promised a ministerial role and was let down recently?/

    Reply

  • Neil_in_Newbury

    10/09/2019 - 11:11

    This cannot be a shock. West Berkshire's majority was in favour of remaining, but he did not represent the way the majority voted, and so likely lost a fair few voters. Conversely, those expecting him to argue in favour of leaving would also be disappointed, given his last minute change of stance, and so he probably lost voters on that side too.

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