Shropshire Star

Two Shropshire MPs who won't be running at the General Election - and why they're stepping down

Two long-serving Shropshire MPs will not be standing in the next General Election in six weeks' time - but why?

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More than 100 MPs have said that they will not be standing for re-election on July 4, with the vast majority of those leaving being from the Conservative Party.

To date, 75 Conservative MPs have announced they would either be standing down from Parliament or not contesting their seat at the next General Election. Of those, two are right here in Shropshire.

In July last year, Telford MP Lucy Allan announced she would not be standing at the next General Election and would be leaving politics for good.

Telford MP Lucy Allan

Ms Allan has been MP for Telford since the 2015 election, when her victory completed a Tory clean sweep of the county.

Her 730-vote majority brought an end to the Labour MP David Wright's 14-year run.

She retained the seat in 2017 with a majority of 720 against Labour's candidate, now Lord Kuldip Sahota, before winning in 2019 with a majority of 10,941.

Ms Allan said it has been "an immense privilege to serve such an incredible town" and called her role "the best thing I have ever done".

In a post on Twitter about her resignation, the MP said that "today’s Conservative Party is just not interested in seats like Telford anymore".

Speaking later to the Shropshire Star, Ms Allan said a lack of support from the central party had led to her decision.

Asked about her decision not to stand again, Ms Allan said: "Telford was not on the list to receive financial backing. It is doable without, but I think they were not that bothered if I stood or not and I thought that is a mistake, because if you want to win Telford, you pick me."

She said that it had been a difficult decision – but that the nature of the "ultra-marginal" seat had made her mind up.

"Winning a tough, critical marginal means fighting a brutal election campaign. We could have won, despite the odds, but at huge personal cost to my family, my team and to me – it’s a psychological war of attrition.

"As much as I love being Telford’s MP, the politics means you have people on all sides firing at you with both barrels. Without the backing of the party, it wasn’t a price I was willing to pay."

For 19 years, Philip Dunne has served as MP for Ludlow, but in May last year, he announced that he would not be putting himself forward for re-selection.

Ludlow MP Philip Dunne

The Conservative MP said it had been the "privilege of my life" to represent the constituency since 2005.

In the job, Mr Dunne, 65, held several top government roles, including as Minister for Defence Procurement for nearly four years in both David Cameron and Theresa May's governments, as well as working as a Minister of State at the Department of Health for 18 months.

Speaking to the BBC last year, Mr Dunne said stepping back had been "a very difficult decision" but said that being 70 during the next Parliament had "borne heavily" on the decision.

He said: "It is a younger person's business. You need the energy and drive and momentum to do this job properly."

Mr Dunne's final act in the House of Commons as Ludlow MP was to present a petition from local residents to call for improved road surfacing on a small lane in his constituency.