Environment minister Trudy Harrison has become the latest Tory MP to announce she will be standing down at the next general election.
The Cumbrian politician’s Copeland constituency is set to be abolished due to boundary changes ahead of the vote – which is expected in the next 18 months.
Ms Harrison said she would not be seeking selection as a candidate in the replacement seat of Whitehaven and Workington.
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She told ITV Borders on Monday: “I wouldn’t live in that constituency boundary, which is part of the challenge I have.
“But essentially I am a community activist at home and I want to come home and make sure that the policies that I have been involved with shaping and making actually reap benefits for people in West Cumbria.”
First elected at a by-election in 2017, Ms Harrison is Copeland’s first female MP and its first Conservative MP.
She went on to become Boris Johnson’s parliamentary private secretary between December 2019 and September 2021, when she was promoted to a ministerial role at the Department for Transport.
She was then moved to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs by Liz Truss in September 2022.
Ms Harrison has been an outspoken supporter of plans to open a new coal mine in her constituency, which were approved by the government earlier this year amid criticism from environmental groups.
She has also called for more nuclear power in the region, backing proposals for new small modular reactors to be built next to the Sellafield nuclear power plant, which sits in her constituency.
Tory MPs quitting Commons are on average 15 years younger than Labour
More than 40 Conservative MPs have now announced they will stand down at the next election, including Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and former ministers Dominic Raab, George Eustice and Sajid Javid.
That’s around 13% of the party’s MPs and more than double the amount of Labour MPs stepping down.
The young age of many of those leaving has led to speculation that the party is facing an exodus as they trail behind Labour in the polls.
But there was some good news last week as they narrowly held onto Boris Johnson’s old constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip – leading prime minister Rishi Sunak to declare the next election is “far from a done deal”.