Rory Stewart announces resignation
Rory Stewart, former candidate for the Conservative leadership campaign, has disclosed he will be standing down from his seat in Penrith and The Border at the next general election. He will stand for Mayor of London as an independent candidate.
Stewart has also shared his departure from the Conservative party overall.
Despite this announcement, it is currently unclear whether he is simply stepping down from his seat, or from politics more generally.
The Times and Star, a local newspaper from near his constituency, reported that Stewart had said: "I hope to start work in another part of the country. I would like, if you will allow me, to remain closely involved with Cumbria – as a champion, supporting local charities and communities – not as your Member of Parliament, but I hope as your friend."
This would imply he was simply changing seat and standing as an independent. This was corroborated by Isabel Hardman of the Spectator. He has now announced he will run for Mayor of London as an independent candidate.
A former foreign office official, Stewart acted as the deputy governor for two Iraqi provinces.
Elected to the Commons in 2010, he was prisons minister and former international development secretary prior to his campaign for Conservative party leadership.
Stewart came fifth in the leadership campaign following May’s resignation.
The MP was pro-remain in the 2016 referendum and supported former prime minister, Theresa May’s withdrawal deal.
The MP tweeted that it had “been a great privilege to serve Penrith and The Border for the last ten years."
His departure follows his expulsion from the Conservatives in the Commons with a further 20 Brexit rebels also excluded.
In his local paper, The Cumberland and Westmorland Herald, Stewart wrote "As you will be aware, I am no longer allowed to run as Conservative MP in Penrith and The Border.
He continued "Because I have loved the constituency so much, I had considered standing as an Independent; but I have decided that I wouldn't want to run against those Conservative members who have been such wonderful colleagues over the last 10 years."
UPDATE: Rory Stewart has announced he will run for Mayor of London as an independent candidate.