Francis Maude to step down

By Benjamin Coren

Conservative MP for Horsham Francis Maude has announced he will step down as MP for the next general election.

In a letter to Horsham Conservative Association he wrote: “It has been a huge privilege to serve as Horsham’s MP since 1997.  I am enormously grateful to you and to our local party members for such tremendous support over that period.  It has been a pleasure to work with you all.  I love this part of West Sussex, which has been my family home for nearly twenty years, and where our children have grown up; and it has been a real honour to serve its people.”

Francis Maude is currently the minister for the Cabinet Office and has been MP for Horsham for 18 years after serving nine years as MP for North Warwickshire.

In his letter he stated: “  I was first elected to the House of Commons in 1983 just before I was thirty, and will be nearly 67 by the time of the election in 2020.  Public service continues to exercise great appeal.  However, 27 years is a long time to serve as a Member of Parliament, and I believe now is the right time to make way for a younger candidate to carry the Conservative flag in Horsham.”

He added he will also give ‘unstinting support’ to the Association’s choice to succeed him.

Mr Maude also said in his letter: “I am increasingly optimistic that the Conservative Party under David Cameron’s strong and visionary leadership will form the government after 7th May. This election will offer the country a simple choice between this Conservative competence and Labour chaos. We need to stick to our long-term economic plan to keep growing the economy, creating more jobs in Horsham and across the country, and paying down the deficit so our children have the best possible future.

Mr Maude has previously held posts under former prime ministers Margaret Thatcher and Sir John Major and was also chairman of the conservative party from 2005 to 2007.

Horsham Conservative Association said: “Horsham Conservative Association was very sorry to receive the news that the Rt Hon. Francis Maude MP will not be seeking re-election on 7th May. Francis has been a truly outstanding Member of Parliament representing Horsham since 1997 when he was elected with a huge parliamentary majority. Since then he has worked tirelessly to represent his constituency whilst managing high office, both in opposition and Government. His ability to cut through red tape and see the bigger picture, has resulted in huge savings for taxpayers and a real optimism that the economy is on the right track with more jobs and a bright future for everyone.

“Local Conservatives are very proud of all he has achieved during his time as MP and in addition, will miss his warm friendship, dedication to public service, loyalty and support.

Several candidates have already announced their intention to stand at the general election in Horsham.

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