Alistair Burt, MP for North East Bedfordshire, has announced he will not be seeking to go forward as a Conservative candidate in the next general election, saying his views on the way Brexit is being handled by party leaders causes a “conflict of interest”.
In a letter to his Party colleagues, that has been shared with the Bedford Independent, Mr Burt said that he makes this decision “with sadness, but also great pride in having served the people of North East Bedfordshire.”
Mr Burt has served as an MP and minister for 32 years, 18 of those as the MP for North East Bedfordshire.
Speaking of his decision to not run as MP in the next general election, Mr Burt said: “It has become clear that I have a fundamental, and unresolvable disagreement with our party leadership on the manner in which we leave the EU, and the consequences going forward of doing so.
“This is very likely to be the root of the next election and I believe it is unfair of me to present you with a conflict of interest between my views and those of the party at an election, even if current circumstances do not result in my having the whip in Parliament removed.”
Mr Burt also made it clear in his letter that he has no intention of standing as an independent candidate, and looks forward to being engaged in public life another way.
“The Conservative Party has been a huge part of the life of [my wife] Eve and me since we were teenagers and given us many wonderful opportunities.
“It would break my heart to be canvassing for votes across the road from lifelong friends.
“I am now looking forward to being engaged in public life in some other way. My vocation has been built around that for some forty years, and I hope it will continue.”