Bedford’s political leaders react as Alistair Burt MP announces he’s stepping down

alistair burt and mohammad yasin local election count 2019
Alistair Burt MP (left) and Mohammad Yasin MP chat at the recent local election count in May 2019.

All sides of Bedford’s political spectrum have been reacting to MP Alistair Burt’s announcement that he will not be seeking re-election as and when the next general election is called.

The MP for North East Bedfordshire told Conservative Party colleagues of his decision in a letter earlier today.

Read: Alistair Burt MP to step down at next general election

First to comment on the news was Bedford and Kempston’s Labour MP, Mohammad Yasin.

Alistair Burt MP

Alistair Burt MP entered Parliament for the first time in 1983 and was elected Conservative MP for north east Bedfordshire in 2001.

Throughout his career he has served a number of ministerial roles. Most recently as Minister of State for the Middle East at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Minister of State at the Department for International Development from June 2017 to March 2019.

From May 2015 until July 2016 he served as Minister of State for Community and Social Care at the Department of Health. Prior to that, he served as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office from May 2010 until October 2013.

Previous roles:

2017 to 2019: Minister of State (Minister for the Middle East and North Africa)
2017 to 2019: Minister of State
2015 to 2016: Minister of State for Community and Social Care
2010 to 2013: Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

News of note from the last 12 months:

“Alistair Burt has been a distinguished and dedicated Member of Parliament for over three decades,” he said.

“Despite our political differences, I have a great deal of respect for Alistair and we have worked well together as MPs in neighbouring constituencies. It’s a shame he has felt he has no choice but to step down.”

Meanwhile, Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate for Bedford, Ryan Henson, said: “Alistair Burt has served his constituents and our country with great distinction.

“He is a man of integrity, admired across the political spectrum, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to campaign alongside him.

“I am sure he will continue to make a contribution to our public life and I wish him and his family all the very best for the future.”

The Lib Dems were also keen to pay their respects to Mr Burt’s career.

Daniel Norton, chair of the Bedford Lib Dems and parliamentary spokesperson for North East Bedfordshire told us: “It’s a sad day when traditional conservatives like Alistair Burt feel unwelcome in their own party over Brexit.

“Nobody voted for the disastrous no-deal Brexit that Johnson and Cummings are trying to force through, and Alistair is demonstrating great courage to defy his own party and block it.

But they also took the opportunity to have a political pop at the government too.

“Following the recent European elections it has become clear the choice is between the Liberal Democrats and the Brexit party in North East Bedfordshire – without decent Conservatives like Alistair, the only way to stop the Brexit Party will be to vote Lib Dem,” added Mr Norton.

Adrian Spurell, the Green Party’s prospective parliamentary candidate, also commented: “There can be little doubt that Alistair has been a loyal and dedicated Conservative MP.

“His track record in voting for the party, especially when in Government, is impressive and he has held ministerial posts as well.

“It is a shocking indictment on what is now happening with the party’s ranks that a loyal and hardworking MP like Alistair feels first that it is necessary to resign his position and now choses to step down at the next election.

“One can’t but help wondering he would have stayed for another term were circumstances in the party different. I wish him well in whatever he chooses to do next.”

We have also asked Nadine Dorries MP for comment.