The average age of Tory MPs who have decided to quit the Commons rather than fight the next election is 15 years younger than outgoing Labour MPs.
A total of 54 MPs have confirmed they will not be standing for re-election – 36 Conservatives, 13 Labour MPs, one from Plaid Cymru and four independent MPs.
A total of 23 of the 36 Tories who have said they will be standing aside are under 60 – alongside Matt Hancock, 44, Julian Knight, 51, and Chris Pincher, 53, who were elected as Conservatives in 2019 but have since lost the party whip and sit in the Commons as independent MPs.
The youngest Labour MP to have announced they will be leaving parliament is Jon Cruddas, who is 61.
The average age of Conservatives standing down is 55, compared to 70 being the average age of outgoing Labour MPs.
Dominic Raab’s announcement yesterday that he would not be contesting his Esher and Walton constituency makes him one of the most high-profile Conservatives to confirm they will be standing down.
But he joins a swathe of other former ministers and secretaries of state – including Chloe Smith, George Eustice, Sajid Javid and Nadine Dorries – who have all said they will go.
Sky News election analyst Dr Will Jennings says the data suggests some Tory MPs are concluding that current polling indicators are correct – that they are facing significant losses to both Labour and the Liberal Democrats – and are deciding to “pull the plug” on their political careers.
“Anyone with a majority of under 10,000 is looking under threat, given the current polling,” Dr Jennings said.
The Conservative intake from 2010 – when David Cameron’s “A list” arrived, ousting New Labour with the help of the Liberal Democrats – is seeing the largest attrition from its ranks
A total of 18 MPs are resigning from that year’s cohort – two Labour MPs aged 67 and 69; two independents who were elected as Conservatives (Mr Hancock and Mr Pincher); and 14 still sitting Tories with an average age of 54 and a half years.
This cohort of Tory MPs includes Mr Raab, Mr Eustice and Mr Javid.
Six MPs from the 2005 intake have said they will stand down, followed by five elected in 1997.
Five Conservative MPs who were only elected in the general election in 2019 have also said they will stand down, including current minister Dehenna Davison.
This “big loss of talent”, as Dr Jennings puts it, follows the departures of a slew of Cameron-era ministers in 2019 who opposed Brexit, such as Philip Hammond, David Gauke, and Rory Stewart.
“It’s an ongoing process, and it’s quite a dramatic change,” Dr Jennings added.
This is different from the change in the Labour Party, which is seeing older MPs – some of whom were ministers in the Labour government – stand aside.
This includes prominent figures such as Harriet Harman, 72, Margaret Hodge, 78, and Ben Bradshaw 62.
Dr Jennings says some senior Labour MPs appear to have decided it is the time for a new generation to take over to build links with constituents and refresh the party as it positions itself for government.
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