It has just been announced that Mike Weatherley MP and James Clappison MP have written to the Prime Minister announcing their decisions not to stand again in 2015.

Mike Weatherley is MP for Hove and Portslade, Intellectual Property Adviser to the Prime Minister and the Commons’ leading heavy metal fan.

Mike was part of the 2010 intake, and thus becomes the latest of that generation of MPs to leave after his first term. It evidently isn’t a decision he takes lightly, particularly having stood unsuccessfully in 2001 and 2005. As his letter to the Prime Minister (which is online in full here) makes clear, he has chosen to do leave parliament for personal reasons, stating that “beating cancer two years ago has led me to review what I want for the future”.

In his four years so far as an MP, he has made several notable impacts – from founding the “Rock the House” competition to persuading the government to criminalise squatting. He has also, of course, been a regular contributor to ConservativeHome. I’m sure he’ll make the most of his last few months as an MP, and will be missed by his colleagues when he does depart from the Commons.

He won his constituency back from Labour by a majority of 1,868 votes in 2010 – no doubt the Association will soon be seeking applications to succeed him as the Conservative candidate, in order to ensure the seat is held next year.

As an aside, this is a hint that the early fears of a specific problem of female 2010 intake MPs stepping down (fears I shared) may have been somewhat exaggerated. While four women MPs from 2010 are leaving or have left (Lorraine Fullbrook, Jessica Lee, Laura Sandys and Louise Mensch) there are now two male MPs from the same batch who have chosen to leave parliament next year (Weatherley and Aidan Burley) – three if you count Jonathan Evans, who served as an MP for a term in the 1990s then returned in 2010 after a stint as an MEP. Of course, that’s four from a smaller pool but we won’t know the full picture until the election itself is upon us, by which time others may well have decided to leave the green benches.

James Clappison is MP for Hertsmere and Chairman of the Parliamentary Conservative Friends of Israel.

First elected in 1992, James is therefore serving his fifth term in the House of Commons. A long-standing supporter of Conservative Friends of Israel, he served as a Minister under John Major and then in a variety of shadow roles during the years in Opposition.

Like Mike Weatherley, he has written numerous times for ConservativeHome on topics as varied as Israeli politics, the response to the London riots and the EU.

His letter to the Prime Minister suggests an urge to explore life away from politics, saying:

“By May 2015, I will…have served as a Member of Parliament for a full 23 years: a generation of time. It is difficult letting go but I do feel now is the time to move on. There is a world elsewhere.”

We wish him good luck in exploring it. As in Hove and Portslade, we will also be keeping a lookout for the commencement of candidate selection in Hertsmere, With a majority of 17,605, no doubt plenty of would-be candidates will, too.


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