Outgoing Melton MP Sir Alan Duncan has blamed the ‘very nasty and undignified’ state of modern day politics and the ‘divisive’ impact of Brexit for making him decide not to stand again at December’s General Election.
Sir Alan said he was unsure whether he would choose a political career if he was starting out again today but admitted he was leaving life in the House of Commons with a heavy heart after 27 years service.
In an interview with the Melton Times shortly after making probably his final speech in the House today (Thursday) he said: “Politics is not what it used to be.
“The thought of doing another five years and fizzling out was not very attractive.
“It has become a very nasty and undignified business.”
Sir Alan was re-selected as the Conservative Party’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Rutland and Melton at the start of this year and at the time he says he fully expected to stand.
But as the government has struggled to deliver Brexit without a clear voting majority he says he has lost the appetite to continue after an election was called this week for December 12.
“I just think that fact that this election is coming that it is time to stop and think,” explained Sir Alan.
“We will be getting a new government, a new Prime Minister in place and Brexit has not yet been done and could drag on even longer - although we hope to deliver it soon - so it is time for me to finish.
“I didn’t want to go early because I didn’t want to make it look like I wasn’t supporting Boris Johnson.
“I’m a loyalist and I support the party.
“But I have decided my time is up.”
The Rutland and Melton Conservative Association will choose their candidate to succeed him at a meeting on Friday November 8.
Sir Alan said he would not interfere in that process but he did rubbish rumours that Prime Minister Johnson was set to be parachuted in to stand in the safe Rutland and Melton seat which enjoyed a 23,000-strong majority at the last election.
“It is unthinkable,” he said of the rumours.
“Imagine the news story if Boris deserted his seat because it would like the voting in his seat was going backwards.
“It would not be a good move at a time when he is trying to increase the number of seats we hold.”
Sir Alan said he had become disillusioned by the amount of abuse he had to take via social media and from certain national newspapers.
He said: “We have 24-hour media coverage of politics and social media is disgusting filth.
“A lot of my constituents are not on it because they live in rural areas or they are older but that doesn’t mean that I don’t get a bellyful of it every day.
“Brexit is also very divisive and in the House it has made a lot of nice people not very pleasant.”
Sir Alan’s seat will officially become vacant shortly after midnight on Wednesday, when Parliament is dissolved.
The Conservative office on the corner of High Street will remain when the new MP starts work as it is owned by the association.
Earlier today in the House, Sir Alan praised the service of outgoing Commons Speaker John Bercow and admitted afterwards: “I have just said what will probably be my last words in the House.
“It was emotional and I will be sad when it all comes to an end.”
And would he stand for election as an MP if he was starting out again today?
“That is very difficult to know,” he admitted.
“If I did, it would be with far less enthusiasm than when I first became an MP in 1992.
“Politics in this country has become a mucky, messy, dysfunctional process and so much is wrong with it now.”