Britain is heading to the polls in December for one of the most fractious, divisive elections in a generation.
After two years of Parliamentary battles and a souring of politics, more than 60 MPs have decided not to stand again.
Some – like longest-serving MP Ken Clarke and Sir Winston Churchill’s grandson Nicholas Soames – are retiring after decades of service.
But others have decided the venom and anger around Brexit are making them want to call it a day. Those include ex-Tory, ex-Change UK Lib Dem Heidi Allen – who says public life has been “utterly dehumanising” – and former Chancellor Philip Hammond.
And key Tory Remainers like Amber Rudd and Nicky Morgan led an exodus of prominent female MPs complaining about abuse.
Meanwhile Speaker John Bercow is finally bowing out after nearly a decade and 14,000 “ORDER”s in the grand chair in the House of Commons.
And Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson came in late with a shock resignation, leaving as an MP altogether alongside his party post.
Here’s the full list of MPs who’ve announced they are standing down so far.
Some of the biggest names
Tom Watson announced he is to stand down as an MP and is quitting frontline politics after 30 years.
In recent years Watson has clashed with leader Jeremy Corbyn over the party’s Brexit policy and allegations of anti-Semitism within the party.
In the 52-year-old’s resignation letter he did not say he wants Corbyn to become Prime Minister in next month’s general election.
In his resignation letter Watson, who survived an attempt to oust him at the Labour party conference earlier this year, said: “Now is the right time for me to stand down from national politics.
“The disagreements we have had inside the party are well-known; now is not the time to rehearse them again.”
Philip Hammond stepped down as an MP with a furious parting shot at Prime Minister Boris Johnson .
The Former Tory Chancellor was booted out of the Tory parliamentary party after defying Johnson over Brexit .
Hammond said he would not stand as an independent in Runnymede and Weybridge, because that would mean leaving the Conservative Party entirely – something he is not willing to do.
In his letter to constituents he unleashed a broadside against Johnson for withdrawing the whip over Brexit.
“I am saddened to find myself in this position after 45 years of Conservative Party membership,” Hammond wrote.
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When people talk about “Tory Big Beasts”, the image they have in their head is 77-year-old Ken Clarke. The Rushcliffe MP holds the title of ‘father of the house’ – which means he’s the longest serving MP, having been sworn in a few minutes earlier than Labour ’s Dennis Skinner.
And he’s been a cabinet minister under three successive Tory Prime Ministers – Education Secretary under Margaret Thatcher, Home Secretary and Chancellor under John Major and Justice Secretary under David Cameron.
In fact, he was one of only five ministers to serve throughout the whole of the 18 years of Tory governments led by Thatcher and Major.
He’s socially and economically liberal, and has been president of the Tory Reform Group since 1997.
And he’s perhaps been the Conservative Party’s proudest and most prominent pro-European voices for several decades. He had the Tory whip removed weeks before finally standing down for voting to block a no-deal Brexit.
(Image: UK PARLIAMENTARY RECORDING UNIT HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/REX)
Commons Speaker John Bercow announced in September that he would stand down.
He developed a reputation for standing up for MPs’ rights against the government – granting more emergency debates and urgent questions in the Commons.
But he later faced fierce criticism from Brexiteers, who questioned his impartiality on the issue of Europe.
The ex-Tory MP succeeded the late Michael Martin as Speaker in 2009.
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Ms Rudd’s departure means the House of Commons will lose one of its most prominent anti-hard-Brexit MPs.
She resigned as DWP Secretary in solidarity with 21 Tories who lost the whip in September.
Yet she also had changed her position in the past, moving from vowing to block a no-deal Brexit to saying it would have to be left open as an option.
Born in London in 1963, she was the fourth child of stockbroker Tony Rudd and magistrate Ethne Fitzgerald.
She went to Cheltenham Ladies’ College and Queen’s College in London before reading History at Edinburgh University.
She married the writer A.A. Gill and the couple had two children together in the 1990s but later divorced. Gill, who died in 2016, referred to Rudd as ‘the Silver Spoon’ in his reviews and she was an aristocracy advisor to Four Weddings And A Funeral.
Ms Rudd was forced to resign as Home Secretary over the Windrush scandal after she misled MPs by denying removal targets existed. An internal inquiry later found she was not given full information herself.
Her brother Roland Rudd runs the People’s Vote campaign – where he is embroiled in a furious row with his own staff over a botched bid to oust senior staff.
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Boris Johnson’s younger brother suggested the PM was failing the national interest as he announced he’d quit in September.
The Orpington MP said he had been “torn between family loyalty and the national interest” but that it was “time for others ” to take on his role.
The Universities and Science minister had previously quit the government when Theresa May as PM over her handling of Brexit.
Remainer Jo Johnson added that it had been an “honour” to serve his constituents since 2009.
Sir Nicholas Soames
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Sir Nicholas Soames is an important talisman in Conservative circles as the grandson of Sir Winston Churchill – but lost the whip last month when he decided to block no-deal Brexit.
The 71-year-old MP for Mid Sussex claimed a no-deal Brexit would be the “most serious crisis” Britain has faced since the Second World War.
The a staunch pro-European who was a minister under John Major, also claimed Margaret Thatcher would not have taken the UK out of the EU.
Confirming his decision he said: “I will be voting against the government with a very heavy heart.”
But he was later spotted grinning during his final vote after 36 years – to trigger an election hours after having the whip restored by Boris Johnson.
(Image: Christopher Furlong)
The MP rose to prominence when he took on Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour leadership following the EU referendum in 2016.
His ill-fated campaign failed to dislodge Corbyn, though he did finish with more than 38% of members’ votes.
The MP of nine years later worked in Jeremy Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary while Stormont was collapsed.
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Lib Dem Heidi Allen will quit as an MP at the next General Election , blaming the “nastiness” of British politics.
The former Tory MP and Change UK leader switched parties more than faced elections after she initially became dissatisfied with the Conservatives over welfare cuts.
She said she was “heartbroken” by the decision, but had become “exhausted” from being shouted at in the street and sworn at on social media.
In a letter to her constituents in South Cambridgeshire, she wrote: “I am exhausted by the invasion into my privacy and the nastiness and intimidation that has become commonplace.
“Nobody in any job should have to put up with threats, aggressive emails, being shouted at in the street, sworn at on social media, nor have to install panic alarms at home.”
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The former Lib Dem leader Vince Cable has been one of the party’s most controversial figures.
A key figure in the Coalition, where he was Business Secretary, lost his Twickenham seat in 2015 – before returning to Parliament in 2017 and taking on the job of leading his part.
A one-time Labour Party member and ex-economics lecturer, Sir Vince appeared on the Christmas edition of BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing in 2010.
Sir Vince, 76, was replaced by East Dunbartonshire MP Jo Swinson and warned there would be “battles about Brexit to come”
When he became leader in 2017, he was the oldest person to be appointed head of a major party since Winston Churchill.
A grandfather, he is married and has three children.
Full list of MPs standing down
John Bercow (Buckingham): “It is with a heavy heart that I step down as MP for this great constituency”.
(Image: Chris J Ratcliffe)
Nicky Morgan (Loughborough): “The abuse for doing the job of a modern MP can only be justified if, ultimately, parliament does what it is supposed to do – represent those we serve in all areas of policy, respect votes cast by the electorate and make decisions in the overall national interest.”
Mark Field (Cities of London and Westminster): “The current speculation that a General Election may be imminent has forced me to make the very difficult decision not to offer myself as your candidate for the next election”.
Nick Hurd (Ruislip, Northwood & Pinner): It’s time to “embrace a new challenge”.
Jo Johnson (Orpington): “I’ve been torn between family loyalty and the national interest”.
David Jones (Clwyd West): “At a personal level, I wish to dedicate more of my time to my family”.
David Tredinnick (Bosworth): “It’s time to make way for a younger candidate with new ideas”.
Claire Perry (Devizes): “Stepping down as a Tory MP to run the UN climate talks in Glasgow next year. It’s been the privilege of my life to represent the people of the wonderful Devizes constituency where I live and which I love”.
Keith Simpson (Broadland): “I’m the ripe old age of 70 and I decided some time ago that I will not stand again”.
Glyn Davies (Montgomeryshire): “It is a difficult time and I will be glad to see the behind of it”.
Jeremy Lefroy (Stafford): “It was the right thing to do to give my association enough time to select a new candidate rather than scrambling around at the last minute”.
Richard Benyon (Newbury): “I don’t think it is fair to the Association to continue the uncertainty about my being eligible to stand, let alone my willingness.”
Alistair Burt (North East Bedfordshire): “It is unfair for me to present you with a conflict of interest between my views and those of the party at an election”
Richard Harrington (Watford): He said it had “always been my intention to step down at the next General Election”.
Mark Prisk (Hertford and Stortford): “This has been a difficult decision, but I have always believed that if you seek election it must be wholehearted and that you should be committed to serve a whole five-year parliament. I cannot make that commitment”.
Michael Fallon (Sevenoaks): “Sadly I have decided that this parliament will be my last. I have served as an MP, for both Darlington and Sevenoaks, for more than 30 years – quite long enough.”
Caroline Spelman (Meriden): “Myself, my family and my staff have borne an enormous brunt of abuse and I think quite frankly we’ve had enough”.
Seema Kennedy (South Ribble): “I have decided not to stand as a candidate for the next general election.It is now time for me to focus on other priorities in my life”.
Sir Nicholas Soames (Mid Sussex): “I am not standing at the next election and I am thus approaching the end of 37 years service to this house, of which I have been proud and honoured beyond words to be a member”.
Bill Grant (Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock): “I have served my country in some form of public service for 53 years, and to leave that service now when the country is facing such an enormous challenge has been difficult to consider.”
Hugo Swire (Devon): “It was my original intention to stand down in 2022, when the next general election was scheduled to be held.”
Mims Davies (Eastleigh): “I am a single parent of two wonderful girls and, over the last few years, it has been become increasingly difficult to juggle the responsibilities have I first and foremost as a mother and, secondly, as an MP and minister.”
Sarah Newton (Truro and Falmouth): “I have decided not to seek re-election at the forthcoming General Election so that I can pursue other interests.”
Sir Patrick McLoughlin (Derbyshire Dales): “I think it’s time to let someone else have that opportunity.”
Peter Heaton-Jones (North Devon): “This is a purely personal decision. It is based on several factors, including a significant change in my family circumstances since my re-election in 2017. In addition, this has been one of the most intense periods in recent political history, and I think it is telling that a relatively high number of MPs are deciding to stand down now.”
David Lidington (Aylesbury): “Politics imposes a heavy cost on family and private life.”
Alan Duncan (Rutland and Melton): Confirmed he’d be standing down after the election was called.
Ross Thomson (Aberdeen South)
Margot James (Stourbridge): “After a period of reflection that I realised that I needed to bring the three-and-a-half year conflict between the result of the referendum in my constituency, and my own view of where the future interests of the country lie to a close.”
Henry Bellingham (North West Norfolk)
Ed Vaizey (Wantage and Didcot): “I believe that now is the right time to move on because I am passionate about the arts, our creative industries and technology”.
Independent former Tories
Philip Hammond (Runnymede & Weybridge)
Amber Rudd (Hastings & Rye): “I’m not finished with politics, I’m just not standing at this election”.
Oliver Letwin (West Dorset): His office confirmed his intention to stand down from the Commons at the next election.
Nick Boles (Grantham and Stamford):”I will not be standing at the general election so this (calling on the Ministry of Justice to examine the ban on assisted dying) will be my last act as an MP. I hope that my friend Robert Buckland will listen to the wide range of people asking for a review of the impact of the current laws on assisted dying if he is reappointed as Lord Chancellor.”
Guto Bebb (Aberconwy): “I’m not quite sure why the Conservative Party have decided to become a type of populist English nationalist party and that might work for one election. I don’t feel any affinity to that.”
Justine Greening (Putney): “It is very clear to me that my concerns about the Conservative Party becoming the Brexit party in effect have come to pass.”
Ken Clarke (Rushcliffe): “You’ve got to hold yourself out as being able to do five more years and do the job properly.”
Nick Boles (Grantham): “It will be time for somebody else… I’ll go and do one other thing – God knows what.”
Rory Stewart (Penrith and the Border): “I’m now coming to the very end of my time in Parliament”.
(Image: Getty Images Europe)
Tom Watson (West Bromwich East): “The disagreements we have had inside the party are well-known; now is not the time to rehearse them again.”
Owen Smith (Pontypridd): “The truth is that Brexit is not compatible with my values. It is a right-wing ideological project, it is a nativist project, it is fuelled by lies and it was delivered deceitfully in 2016.”
Ronnie Campbell (Blyth Valley): “It has been an absolute privilege to serve the people of Blyth Valley and I sincerely thank them for all their support over the years. I feel that it’s time, at my age, that I was put out to grass.”
Jim Fitzpatrick (Poplar and Limehouse): “Labour HQ asked if I’ll stand again, here is my official response. In the event of a snap election a volunteer parachutist may be needed if no time for full selection procedures to represent the great seat of Poplar and Limehouse!!”
Kate Hoey (Vauxhall): “Now that the national Labour party has started the process for the 2022 election I have decided that after 30 years as the MP for Vauxhall I will not seek re-election as a Labour candidate.”
Roberta Blackman-Woods (City of Durham): “I am afraid it is just time for me to stand down for a whole host of largely personal reasons.”
Gloria De Piero (Ashfield): “I question whether I can give you the commitment you deserve for what could be a further eight years.”
Paul Farrelly (Newcastle-under-Lyme): “I also still have a young family to support, and it would not be fair on them, really, to carry on beyond the next election, with all the stresses and strains that go with the job of being a dutiful member of parliament.”
John Mann (Bassetlaw) – resigned as an MP before election was called to take up seat in the House of Lords: “The power of the Prime Minister, Speaker and the whips will all need to be reconsidered if our democracy is to properly function. I am not holding my breath at such maturity.”
Ann Clwyd (Cynon Valley): “It has been a great honour to represent the people of the Cynon Valley for so long. I am very grateful for the support for both me and the Labour Party. I will continue to fight for the Labour Party at the next general election – whenever it comes.”
Ian Lucas (Wrexham): “I am 60 next year. I have been an MP since I was 40. I think the time is right for me to choose to follow a different path in the years to come.”
Kevin Barron (Rother Valley): “I am pretty sure that I will be the last Yorkshire miner as an MP, although politics can at times be challenging it is the greatest way of giving a voice to the voiceless.”
Geoffrey Robinson (Coventry North West): “There is nothing more important or rewarding than helping people, however I need to be fully fit to be able to undertake the job properly.”
Stephen Pound (Ealing North) Ealing Labour tweeted: “Ealing Labour would like to thank him for the tremendous service given to our community, and many within the community will miss him greatly. Sending you the warmest wishes for the future Steve.”
Adrian Bailey (West Bromwich West): “My head said that I would be committing myself to work until I was nearly eighty years old and that, whilst I am very fit both mentally and physically, a younger person, more attuned and comfortable with political campaigning in a social media age would be better placed to promote Labour’s policies and values in the next Parliament. Consequently, I have decided that I no longer wish to be considered for re-election.”
Albert Owen (Ynys Mon): “Being an MP is an intense full-time job. My decision not to seek re-election is for personal reasons, I simply want to do other things and spend more quality time with my family.”
Helen Jones (Warrington North): “I am deeply grateful to the voters here who have elected me at six General Elections.”
Jim Cunningham (Coventry South): “It has been the honour of my professional life to serve as your Member of Parliament for the last 27 years, but the time has come to hand over the baton to someone new.”
Stephen Twigg (Liverpool West Derby): “As I approach my mid-fifties I want to have the opportunity to take on something new”
Teresa Pearce (Erith and Thamesmead): “I have made the decision to not stand at the next election, there are many reasons some personal, some not. But I will be 65 in February and I think it’s time to step away. It has been a real privilege to serve my community in these past nine years.”
Heidi Allen (South Cambridgeshire): “Nobody in any job should have to put up with threats, aggressive emails, being shouted at in the street, sworn at on social media, nor have to install panic alarms at home. Of course public scrutiny is to be expected, but lines are all too often regularly crossed and the effect is utterly dehumanising.”
Norman Lamb (North Norfolk): “I think we are in a very sad and disturbing place in our politics.”
Vince Cable (Twickenham): “I would not be able to commit to a five year term from now until possibly 2024/25.”
The Independent Group for Change
Joan Ryan (Enfield North): “When I stood in 2017 I always intended to serve only one more term in Parliament.”
Ann Coffey (Stockport): “After a lot of consideration I have decided not to stand for election again. Can I thank you all for the support and kindness you have shown to me over the years. It has been much appreciated.”
(Image: Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)
Dame Louise Ellman (Liverpool Riverside): It comes after she quit Labour citing the “growth of anti-Semitism” in the party.
Kelvin Hopkins (Luton North)
John Woodcock (Barrow and Furness): “Some sad news prompted by wonderful news – I’ve decided not to re-stand in the general election because [journalist and partner] Isabel Hardman and I are having a baby!”
Sylvia Hermon (North Down)