Justine Greening has announced that she will not be standing for the Conservative Party at the next election after admitting that her fears that “the Tories would become the Brexit Party” have “come to pass”.
The Putney MP made the announcement on Radio 4 this morning as MPs returned from the six-week summer recess today.
Greening’s bombshell comes after Boris Johnson said: “I don’t want an election” outside Downing Street despite speculation that he will call a snap election for October 14.
My letter to @BorisJohnson on why I’ve decided not to stand for @Conservatives at the next election. It’s a privilege to serve as MP for #Putney #Roehampton & #Southfields. I’ll continue to speak up for our community in Parliament & campaign on #socialmobility with @thesmpledge. pic.twitter.com/CFEMWqsm0s
— Justine Greening (@JustineGreening) September 3, 2019
That will depend on the result of today’s historic vote in the Commons to secure a debate this week on preventing a no-deal Brexit.
The Prime Minister has been trying to get Tory rebels to vote with the government to ensure that the UK leaves the European Union on October 31.
But Remain-supporting Greening is unlikely to back Johnson after she wrote to the PM to confirm her decision to quit the party at the next election. She is also one of the 18 MPs who has written to Speaker John Bercow requesting an emergency debate on the European Union Withdrawal Bill today.
An application for an #emergencydebate on the European Union (Withdrawal) has been submitted. The Speaker will consider it later today. If successful, the debate takes precedence over today's scheduled business under Standing Order 24.https://t.co/mmWOWfREgI pic.twitter.com/vnZFlbNRBA
— UK House of Commons (@HouseofCommons) September 3, 2019
“I believe it is now time for me to move on to other opportunities and challenges outside of Parliament. I wanted to let you know that I will not be standing as a Conservative candidate,” she wrote.
“Like many people locally, I am deeply concerned by the Brexit approach taken by your Government. To be clear, I remain the MP for my community and I am determined to work hard and represent my constituents on all the issues they care about, including on Brexit.
“However, it’s clear to me that whoever is next elected to represent our constituency, which voted over 70 per cent Remain, they will similarly need to put our community views on Brexit first, ahead of any conflicting party interest.”
It's been a pleasure working together in Parliament, Justine; though it's a crying shame you're not standing again, there's never been a more important time to up the ante on social mobility @thesmpledge
— John Bird (@johnbirdswords) September 3, 2019
Greening was a key backer of Big Issue founder Lord John Bird’s Creditworthiness Assessment Bill, introducing the private member’s bill to the House of Commons last September.
She also insisted that her work with the Social Mobility Pledge will “achieve more positive change on the ground by working outside Parliament”. The pledge covers more than 2.7 million employees around the UK after firms like BT, Adidas and ITV vowed to give workers from disadvantaged backgrounds a chance at moving up their hierarchies.