It’s time to say goodbye to some MPs – following the upcoming election, they will be leaving their well-worn commons seats.
Here’s a look at just a few of those who have called time on their political lives.
The defiant one
Dame Louise Ellman, 74, MP for Liverpool Riverside since 1997
Labour has had to answer serious questions about anti-Semitism. A consequence of which is the exit from its ranks of Dame Louise Ellman, a Jewish, quietly effective MP. Harriet Harman called Ellman’s departure ‘very sad news’. ‘A party that permits anti-Jewish racism to flourish cannot be called anti-racist,’ Ellman said sorrowfully as she bid farewell.
The one-term wonder
Bill Grant, 68, Conservative MP for Ayr, Cannock and Cumnock since 2017
Grant was in local politics before snatching his seat from the SNP. What makes him tick? Who knows? It’s fair to say he didn’t make a huge mark on the Commons during his five minutes there.
Ken Clarke, 79, MP for Rushcliffe since 1970
He has seen 10 prime ministers come and go and held numerous cabinet posts, serving as chancellor of the exchequer from 1993 to 1997. Now, with the Conservative Party spinning away from him, it’s finally time to call it a day. The rapturous reaction by fellow MPs to his last ever PMQs speech, paying tribute to departing speaker John Bercow, shows just how popular he was in the Commons.
Tom Watson, 52, MP for West Bromwich East since 2001
Watson made his name as a Gordon Brown bully boy. After Corbyn became leader, Watson was elected as his deputy. Despite numerous attempts to turf him out by Corbyn’s far-Left allies, Watson refused to resign his post, leaving him isolated as one of the few centrists remaining in the party’s senior leadership. He maintains that his decision to stand down was ‘personal, not political’.
The one who got away
Amber Rudd, 56, MP for Hastings and Rye since 2010
She was once the future of the Tory Party, ascending to one of the great offices of state as Home Secretary faster than any MP since the Second World War. Plummy-voiced but accessible, school marmish without being patronising, even a misstep over the Windrush scandal couldn’t hold her back and she returned to the cabinet as work and Pensions Secretary in 2018. But like many One Nation Tories, Rudd has decided life under Boris is not for her.
The not so lamented
Keith Vaz, 63, MP for Leicester East since 1987
Were it not for the election, the former Labour minister would currently be serving a six-month suspension from the Commons. Yet it is a sign of Vaz’s hubris that he initially didn’t rule out standing again, perhaps trusting voters would overlook the small matter of him boasting to male prostitutes about having unprotected sex and offering to provide them with cocaine.