Here is Byles’s statement in full:
“For the last four years, it has been an honour and a privilege to represent the people of North Warwickshire & Bedworth as both a constituency MP and a national legislator.
Before becoming an MP I served in the Army for nine years, deploying on operational tours in Bosnia and Kosovo. By the time of the 2015 General Election, serving my country will have been the primary focus of my professional life for some 14 years. For myself and for my family, whose support and understanding have been unerring throughout, I believe it is now time to move on to new challenges. I will therefore not be standing for re-election in 2015.
As I hoped it would be, my time in Parliament has been hard work but uniquely rewarding. I am proud of what we have achieved as a Government – putting Britain back on the road to recovery following the worst economic collapse the country has ever faced. I am particularly grateful for the personal contribution I have had the opportunity to make, as a member of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee; Chair of three active All Party Parliamentary Groups; on the Bill Committee of the Energy Act 2014; and as the sponsor of an historic Private Members Bill on House of Lords Reform.
With almost a year still to go before the General Election, I remain absolutely committed to my constituents and to tackling the important issues that face us locally, such as HS2, ensuring that the George Eliot Hospital has a safe and secure future, and building on our recent successes in the local economy. It will be business as usual in North Warwickshire & Bedworth for Team Dan.
This has by no means been an easy decision, and I owe a great debt of gratitude to my parliamentary and constituency staff who have worked so tirelessly for the last four years on behalf of local people. I would also like to thank all of the local Conservative Party volunteers and councillors. Without their support, successfully overturning 18 years of Labour incumbency to return a Conservative MP with a significantly above average swing would simply not have been possible. My Conservative successor is extremely fortunate to inherit such a dedicated and experienced team. I will of course work closely with everyone to ensure a smooth handover and the best chance of success in 2015.”
- Byles had the smallest majority of any Conservative MP at the last election – 54. Holding the seat will be a tough challenge for his successor as Tory candidate.
- The news helps to put into perspective the claim that it is women Tory MPs who are heading for the exist. It’s true that Louise Mensch, Laura Sandys, Lorraine Fullbrook, Jessica Lee have either left or are leaving. But we will get a better sense of the ratio of men to women during the months ahead as the next election gets nearer still: Byles is unlikely to be the last MP Conservative to announce that he’s standing down – and perhaps not the last in the 2010 intake, either.
- I am sorry to hear that Byles is going – and can’t help reading the news as one more sign of the declining pull of Parliament as an institution.