Sir Alan Duncan has confirmed this afternoon (Wednesday) that he will not be standing at December’s General Election after serving 27 years as MP for Rutland and Melton.
The shock announcement comes the day after Parliament voted to go to the polls again in a bid to establish a government with a decisive majority which can deliver Brexit.
Sir Alan said in a statement this afternoon: “There is no right time to go but I felt I’d had a good run over my 27 years.
“Seven shadow cabinet jobs, seven years as a minister of state, two years on the Intelligence Committee, heaven knows how many leadership campaigns, and two bypasses funded in the constituency.
“Rather than become a wise old buffer who nobody listens to I look forward to taking up new challenges.
“Rutland and Melton is a fabulous constituency and the best place to live in the UK, so I’ll not be moving.
“I have worked with some fantastic people in so many areas of life locally.
“I have had three very fulfilling decades which I hope have improved the lives of lots of constituents.”
Sir Alan, who was a prominent critic of Prime Minister Boris Johnson before he won the recent leadership election, resigned as a Foreign Office minister in July shortly before the new PM entered 10 Downing Street.
After quitting the role, he hinted he may have more time available for tackling issues in his consituency, telling the Melton Times: “I have concluded my ministerial life and look forward to being a backbencher and a straight forward constituency MP.”
We reported in August that Sir Alan had suspended his Twitter account after becoming disllusioned by receiving ‘vile comments and abuse’.
He had previously Tweeted a copy of his resignation letter from his ministerial post which prompted nearly 4,500 replies, many of them being rude and abusive in content.
And back in January, he condemned an online social campaign which criticised the efforts of Melton police officers in their responses to criminal activitiy in the borough and said he frequently received unpleasant personal messages via Twitter after posting news of his diplomatic travels around the world for his ministerial role.
But Sir Alan appeared to be relishing the prospect of the election when he wrote his latest monthly column for the Melton Times, which will appear in tomorrow’s paper.
In it he wrote: “After months of dither and delay, Parliament has finally voted to hold a general election.
“While none of those who will be standing particularly relish the idea, all the more so in the darkness of winter, there is no other way out of the current parliamentary deadlock.
“Millions of families and businesses cannot plan for the future while Brexit uncertainty drags on and on, and the Government has no working majority.
“The paralysis of Parliament has been holding the Government hostage. This must be brought to an end.
“Across the country the widespread view is that this Parliament has run its course.
“It simply cannot deliver on the priorities of the people, whether that is Brexit – leave or remain – or anything else, including education, health and social care, and policing.
“We need to have a new government which will pass the exit deal that the Prime Minister negotiated.”
He made no mention of whether he would be standing in the General Election on December 12, adding: “Parliament has been paralysed for too long.
“The future is now in the hands of all voters – that’s democracy!”
More to follow.