CCHQ has just confirmed that Michael Howard will tell his Folkestone & Hythe Conservative Association that he will be stepping down at the next General Election as the local MP. In a brief statement the Tory leader says:
"By the time of the next election I will have been a Member of Parliament for twenty six years. I have been very privileged to serve as a Government Minister for twelve years and in the Shadow Cabinet for six years but the time has now come to move on."
Highlights of his career include…
- As Secretary of State for the Environment he had some responsibility for the community charge, oversight of water privatisation and led steps towards international action against global warming at the Rio summit.
- As Secretary of State for Employment he helped to negotiate John Major’s opt-out from the Social Chapter at Maastricht.
- The prison works policy (for me his greatest achievement) which contributed to an 18% reduction in crime – after years of remorseless increases.
- As Conservative leader his dog-whistle strategy led the Conservative Party to gains of more than 30 MPs at the 2005 General Election but may have reinforced the party’s image as uncaring.
- In his last few months as Tory leader he was unsuccessful in his bid to strip members of their vote in the leadership election but he did position David Cameron to be his successor.
I am sure all ConservativeHome readers wish Michael and Sandra Howard a happy retirement from parliamentary life.