Sir James Duddridge KCMG MP has announced that he will be stepping down at the next General Election, after eighteen years representing Rochford and Southend East.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP, Sir James said:
It has been an honour to serve the people of Rochford and Southend East as their Member of Parliament since 2005. It is therefore with regret that I write to let you know that I will not be standing at the next General Election.
I joined the party in the late 80's under the great Margaret Thatcher. I worked for the party when CCHQ was CCO. I have fought six General Elections and two local government elections, increasing the Conservative vote every time. I have served under three Prime Ministers as a Whip for four years, Minister for Africa for four years, Brexit Minister seeing through the Withdrawal Act through the Commons, Minister of State for Trade and as Boris Johnson's PPS. I think I have done my time. Forgive me for moving on to do other things.
I am grateful to the many friends in Southend, Rochford, Westminster and Africa who have helped me along this journey but now is the time for a new chapter.
I am looking forward to new challenges and that old cliché, to spending more time in Southend with my family.
Commenting following the announcement, Sir James said:
While I am not standing for re-election, I remain committed to my role as the Member of Parliament for Rochford and Southend East until the next General Election. Just as Southend has become my home, it will remain so after I have stood down.
As I look ahead to new challenges locally, nationally and internationally, with the General Election possibly being over a year away, there is still lots to do and to achieve in Parliament.