David Cameron is to stand down as MP for Witney, triggering a by-election in the Oxfordshire seat, he has announced.
He told ITV News he had thought “long and hard” over the decision but did not want to be a “distraction” from Theresa May’s new government. “I have to start to build a life outside Westminster,” he said.
Cameron added: “In my view, with modern politics, with the circumstances of my resignation, it isn’t really possible to be a proper backbench MP as a former prime minister.”
The former prime minister has been MP for Witney since 2001 and became Tory leader in 2005.
His constituency is one of the safest Tory seats in the country and Cameron won re-election to parliament in 2015 with a majority of 25,155.
David Cameron stands down as MP: “It is very difficult to sit as a backbencher and not be an enormous distraction” https://t.co/osQKAQ0Miy
— Sky News (@SkyNews) September 12, 2016
When Cameron resigned as prime minister in June, he said he would remain in parliament as an MP.
“I will continue with my duties as the MP for Witney. It is an enormous privilege to serve the people of West Oxfordshire,” he said.
However he has now U-turned on that pledge. Cameron also insisted he would not quit as PM should he lose the EU referendum.
Former Conservative leaver and foreign secretary William Hague said Cameron had made the “right” decision.
Right decision by David Cameron to leave Commons – former Prime Ministers are either accused of doing too little or being a distraction.
— William Hague (@WilliamJHague) September 12, 2016