Former cabinet minister Ed Vaizey has announced he will step down at the December general election.
Calling it “one of the hardest [decisions] I have ever taken”, Vaizey said the time was right to move on.
“I am passionate about the arts, our creative industries and technology and I want to specialise in these sectors,” he wrote in a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“Let me make one thing clear: I am and will remain an enthusiastic supporter of you as our Prime Minister,” he added.
“I believe that your One Nation agenda is the right path for the Conservative Party, and will be working hard to help my successor, party and Prime Minister achieve a decent majority.”
Vaizey, who served as culture, media and sport secretary under former Prime Minister David Cameron, was not recalled to cabinet when Theresa May took charge in 2017.
The politician was one of 21 Tory MP rebels who voted against the government in a bid to block a no-deal Brexit over summer.
He is one of 10 of those rebels that Downing Street welcomed back into the party as it attempted to push Johnson’s Brexit deal through the Commons.
Vaizey said in his letter: “I want to thank you for returning the whip to me, despite our temporary differences.
“I also thank my association, which has been supportive of me for the last seventeen years.”
Vaizey joins former chancellor Philip Hammond and a host of other MPs who have said they will step down at the next election.
Hammond, who has consistently opposed Boris Johnson’s Brexit strategy since leaving his role as chancellor, said he made the decision with “great sadness.”
He said he had to leave politics after the Prime Minister withdrew the whip from him and 20 other Tory rebels, who moved to block a no-deal Brexit earlier this year.
He joins a list of MPs that will not contest their seats again which includes former home secretary Amber Rudd, erstwhile deputy prime minister Sir David Lidington and culture secretary and former treasury select committee chair Nicky Morgan.
Other prominent names stepping down include Conservative leadership candidate Rory Stewart who is fighting the next London mayoral election and Liberal Democrat MP Heidi Allen who left the Conservative Party over its Brexit stance.
Former chancellor and father of the house Kenneth Clarke – who has been MP for Rushcliffe since 1970 – and fellow grandee Sir Nicholas Soames are both stepping down after losing the Conservative whip after rebelling against Boris Johnson’s government on Brexit.
Vauxhall MP Kate Hoey is also leaving parliament after a controversial stint as Labour’s most prominent pro-Brexit parliamentarian.
Other familiar faces leaving the house at the next general election include speaker John Bercow, former defence secretary Michael Fallon, Jo Johnson – brother of the Prime Minister, former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable and former education secretary Justine Greening.
Conservative MPs standing down at the next general election
- Nicky Morgan – Culture secretary and former Treasury committee chair
- Sir Alan Duncan – MP for Rutland and Melton and former Europe minister
- Rory Stewart – MP for Penrith and The Border and former secretary of state for international development
- John Bercow – MP for Buckingham and Commons speaker
- Mark Field – MP for Cities of London and Westminster
- Michael Fallon – MP for Sevenoaks and former defence secretary
- Nick Hurd – MP for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner and Northern Ireland minister
- Jo Johnson – MP for Orpington and universities minister.
- Claire Perry – MP for Devizes
- Mark Prisk – MP for Hertford & Stortford
- Keith Simpson – MP for Broadland
- Glyn Davies – MP for Montgomeryshire
- Jeremy Lefroy – MP for Stafford
- Caroline Spelman – MP for Meriden and former environment secretary
- David Tredinnick – MP for Bosworth
- David Jones – MP for Clywd West and former Wales secretary
- Seema Kennedy – MP for Ribble South, minister, and former Downing Street PPS
- Richard Harrington – MP for Watford
- Sir Nicholas Soames – MP for Mid Sussex and former defence minister
- Alastair Burt – MP for North East Bedfordshire and former Foreign Office minister
- Richard Benyon – MP for Newbury
- Sir Patrick McLoughlin – MP for West Derbyshire
- Mims Davies – MP for Eastleigh and under secretary of state for employment at the Department for Work and Pensions
- Sir David Lidington – MP for Aylesbury & former deputy prime minister
- Bill Grant – MP for Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock
- Hugo Swire – MP for East Devon and former minister of state in the Northern Ireland Office and minister of state in the Foreign Office
- Peter Heaton-Jones – MP for North Devon
- Sarah Newton – MP for Truro and Falmouth
- Margot James – MP for Stourbridge and former Business minister
- Ross Thomson – MP for Aberdeen South
- Ed Vaizey – MP for Wantage
Labour MPs standing down
- Gloria De Piero – MP for Ashfield and shadow justice minister
- Ronnie Campbell – MP for Blyth Valley
- Kevin Barron – MP for Rother Valley
- Jim Fitzpatrick – MP for Poplar and Limehouse
- Kate Hoey – MP for Vauxhall
- Albert Owen – MP for Ynys Mon
- Teresa Pearce – MP for Erith and Thamesmead and ex-shadow housing minister
- John Mann – MP for Bassetlaw
- Geoffrey Robinson – MP for Coventry North West
- Stephen Pound – MP for Ealing North
- Stephen Twigg – MP for Liverpool West Derby
- Ian Lucas – MP for Wrexham
- Owen Smith – MP for Pontypridd and former leadership challenger
- Adrian Bailey – MP for West Bromwich West
- Ann Clwyd – MP for Cynon Valley and former secretary of state for international development and chair of the parliamentary Labour Party
- Helen Jones – MP for Warrington North
- Jim Cunningham – MP for Coventry South
- Paul Farelly – MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme
- Roberta Blackman-Woods – MP for City of Durham and shadow minister for housing and planning
Read more: When will we have a UK general election?
Liberal Democrat MPs standing down at the next general election
- Sir Vince Cable – MP for Twickenham, former leader of the Lib Dems and former business secretary
- Heidi Allen – MP for South Cambridgeshire
- Norman Lamb – MP for North Norfolk
Independent MPs standing down
- Philip Hammond – MP for Runnymede and Weybridge, former chancellor, foreign secretary, defence secretary, and transport secretary
- Kenneth Clarke – MP for Rushcliffe, former chancellor, home secretary, health secretary, justice secretary, education secretary and the father of the house
- Oliver Letwin – MP for West Dorset and former chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
- Guto Bebb – MP for Aberconwy and former defence minister
- Nick Boles – MP for Grantham
- Justine Greening – MP for Putney and former education secretary
- Dame Louise Ellman – MP for Liverpool Riverside and chair of the Transport Select Committee
- Amber Rudd – former home secretary and MP for Hastings and Rye
- Joan Ryan – MP for Enfield North
- Ann Coffey – MP for Stockport
- John Woodcock – MP for Barrow and Furness