Tue. Apr 23rd, 2024

Tory party members have said the chancellor is expected to announce he will step down close to the next general election (Picture: James Veysey/Shutterstock)

Jeremy Hunt is set to stand down as an MP before the next election, according to senior Conservatives.

Tory party members have said the chancellor is expected to announce he will step down close to the next general election, the Observer reports.

Mr Hunt’s spokesperson said he would still stand after he was selected to the new Surrey constituency of Godalming and Ash.

But with cabinet ministers predicted to lose their seats at the next general election, rumours the chancellor will step down so as not to risk electoral defeat have circulated both within Westminster and Surrey Conservatives.

One former minister said: ‘Barring a miracle [of the Tories winning and forming another government], I can’t see Jeremy wanting to be in opposition under a new leader.

‘And if he loses he will be the biggest scalp on election night. That is not a departure anyone would want. People in Surrey are saying he will not stand.’

Another said: ‘Of course Jeremy cannot say so now, but I think he won’t stand. It is not uncommon to pull out having said you will stand, citing changes of circumstances.

‘Short of turning things round and winning, and him remaining chancellor, which is not exactly likely, there is nothing in it for him.’

It is expected a number of cabinet ministers will lose their seats at the next general election (Picture: Carl Court/Getty Images)

The Liberal Democrats confirmed Mr Hunt’s old political rival in Surrey, Paul Follows, had been chosen as their candidate for the Godalming and Ash seat.

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A pool suggested several cabinet ministers, including Mr Hunt and party chairman and Greg Hands, deputy prime minister Oliver Dowden, and leader of the House of Commons Penny Mordaunt could lose their seats.

It comes as Labour overturned huge Tory majorities to secure the seats of Tamworth and Mid Bedfordshire in a double by-election defeat described as a ‘political earthquake’ for the Conservatives.

Alistair Strathern took the Mid Bedfordshire seat – which had been blue since 1931 –  with a majority of 1,192 over Tory rival Festus Akinbusoye, with a swing of 20.5 percentage points.

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In Tamworth – where the Conservatives were defending a 19,634 majority – Labour’s Sarah Edwards defeated Tory Andrew Cooper by a majority of 1,316.

Following the victories, Sir Keir Starmer said: ‘These are phenomenal results that show Labour is back in the service of working people and redrawing the political map.

‘Winning in these Tory strongholds shows that people overwhelmingly want change and they’re ready to put their faith in our changed Labour Party to deliver it.

‘Voters across Mid Bedfordshire, Tamworth and Britain want a Labour government determined to deliver for working people, with a proper plan to rebuild our country.

‘To those who have given us their trust, and those considering doing so, Labour will spend every day acting in your interests and focused on your priorities. Labour will give Britain its future back.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

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