David Cameron to stand down as MP for Witney

David Cameron came third from bottom in the poll. Picture: Lisa Ferguson.
David Cameron came third from bottom in the poll. Picture: Lisa Ferguson.
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David Cameron is to stand down as MP for Witney, triggering a by-election in the Oxfordshire seat, he has announced.

Mr Cameron said he would not be moving away from the constituency, where he has made his home with wife Samantha and their children.

He said it had been “an honour” to serve the people of the area for the past 15 years.

“Our house in Dean is the place Samantha, my children and I call home, and that will not change,” said Mr Cameron.

“I will continue to support the local causes and charities that mean so much to me and many others in this beautiful and enterprising part of our country.

“I now look forward to a life outside of Westminster, but hope to continue to play a part in public service and to make a real and useful contribution to the country I love.”

One of David Cameron’s predecessors as Conservative leader has praised the former prime minister’s decision to stand down as an MP.

Lord (William) Hague of Richmond backed Mr Cameron’s assessment that former PMs can become a “diversion” while sitting on the backbenches of the House of Commons.

Mr Hague, who returned to the frontbench under Mr Cameron after four years as a backbencher following his unsuccessful leadership of the Tories, tweeted: “Right decision by David Cameron to leave Commons - former prime ministers are either accused of doing too little or being a distraction.”

The announcement comes two months after he quit as prime minister on July 13 in the wake of defeat in the EU referendum.

The former PM said at the time that he was “very keen to continue” as MP for Witney, which he has represented in the House of Commons since 2001, and said it was “very much my intention” to seek re-election in 2020.

But after considering his position over the summer he came to the conclusion he must quit politics.

He said Mrs May had “got off to a cracking start” and she had been “very understanding” about his decision.

“Obviously I’m going to have my own views about different issues,” he told ITV News. “People would know that and that’s really the point.

“As a former prime minister it is very difficult, I think, to sit as a backbencher and not be an enormous diversion and distraction from what the Government is doing.”

Asked if Mrs May’s plans to introduce a new wave of grammar schools was linked to his decision, he replied: “This decision has got nothing to do with any one individual issue. The timing in that way, I promise, is coincidental.”

Mr Cameron said there were “many good things” in the policy but refused to endorse the proposals.

“My announcement today is not about grammar schools, there’s no connection with grammar schools, it’s purely one of timing.”

Mrs May said: “His commitment to lead a one nation government is one I will continue to follow. I thank him for everything he has done for the Conservative Party and the country and I wish him and his family well for the future.”

Former chancellor George Osborne said it was a “sad day”.

“We came into Parliament together, had a great partnership + I will miss him alongside me on the green benches over the coming years. Sad day.”

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