Matt Hancock’s constituency voted that he is “not fit” to represent them before he announced he would be standing down as an MP. His association ruled no confidence in the MP on 30 November, three days after Mr Hancock came third in ITV’s ‘I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!’ Yesterday, he announced he would be stepping down from Parliament at the next election, despite previous insistence from his spokesperson that he has “no intention” of doing so.
In his letter to Rishi Sunak, he claimed the chief whip “made clear he would restore the whip in due course”, but said that would no longer be “necessary”.
He said: “I am writing to tell you that I do not intend to stand for the Conservatives at the next General Election.”
The MP continued: “It has been a huge honour to serve as Member of Parliament for West Suffolk over the past twelve years.
“I am very proud of what we achieved, including the establishment of three Free Schools, dualling of the A11, supporting the horseracing industry, and expanding Newmarket Hospital. I will of course continue to represent all my constituents between now and the next election.
Days before Mr Hancock published his statement, his constituency chairman penned a letter to the Tory chief whip Simon Hart saying that local association officers believed the MP for West Suffolk was “not fit to represent this constituency”.
The letter, from Terry Wood, president of West Suffolk Conservatives, was sent to Mr Hart on 1 December, one day after his association ruled no confidence in their MP.
The revelation may put pressure on the former Health Secretary to stand down immediately.
Mr Wood wrote: “I have been instructed by the Officers Group of West Suffolk Conservatives Association to write to you and advise you of the following.
READ MORE: Matt Hancock announces he will stand down as MP
“At an Officers Group meeting held on the 30 November 2022 a vote was taken that ruled that the Officer Group have no confidence in Matt Hancock as our sitting MP, and we would request that the Whip is not restored to him.
“This vote was brought about following feedback from the constituents in West Suffolk, advising that by virtue of recent events, they consider Matt Hancock not fit to represent this constituency.”
But an ally of Mr Hancock said: “This letter is irrelevant. It hasn’t been sent on behalf of the association, and the Chief Whip told Matt he was going to get the whip back. Matt had already decided not to stand again when it came to light.”
In his letter announcing that he would not be standing, Mr Hancock called on the Conservative party to “reconnect with the public”, adding: “There was a time when I thought the only way to influence the public debate was in Parliament, but I’ve realised there’s far more to it than that.
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“I have increasingly come to believe that for a healthy democracy we must find new ways to reach people – especially those who are disengaged with politics. The revival of modern conservatism over the next decade will I suspect take place as much outside Parliament as in it.”
Mr Hancock said he now wants to “do things differently”, saying he has “discovered a whole new world of possibilities which I am excited to explore”.
He said he would continue “championing the issues that are dear to my heart, including better support for dyslexic children who get a raw deal from the education system.”
Mr Hancock claimed that raising awareness of dyslexia was one of the main reasons he entered the jungle to take part in “I’m a Celeb”, as well as to show the human side of politicians.
The former Health Secretary finished third in the reality show, after being voted to take part in a raft of bushtucker trials.