The Conservative MP for Kingswood has announced he will not stand at the next General Election, because his constituency is being split into two. Chris Skidmore also said he wants to spend more time with his family.
He has held the seat since 2010 and was most recently the Government’s ‘Net Zero czar’. But the boundary changes proposed to come into force in time for a General Election in 2024 would see half his seat be part of a new Bristol North East seat, and the other half join with Keynsham across the border with North East Somerset.
The Conservative MP has decided not to stand for re-election in either of these seats, and will step down as an MP at the next General Election. “There has been no greater honour in my life than to have represented my home area in Parliament,” he said.
Read more: Boundary changes alter Bristol's political map to create a fifth city MP
“I have loved every moment of serving as Kingswood’s local MP for the past 12 years and look forward to serving my community for the rest of my term of office. Parliamentary boundary changes will result in the Kingswood constituency ceasing to exist.
"With no alternative seat, I have decided that I do not wish to fight another constituency elsewhere in the region or country, especially with a very young family who deserve to see more of their father in their lives,” he added. “I have been extremely fortunate to have fought and won four General Elections, raising my share of the vote each time.
"I would like to thank local constituents for putting their trust and faith in me to serve as their local MP. I have also had a wonderful opportunity to serve widely in government, including in the Treasury, Cabinet Office, the Department of Health, and the Departments of Education and BEIS as the last Universities and Science minister. I became an attending member of Cabinet as Energy and Clean Growth Minister. During this period, I was responsible for legislating and signing the UK’s Net Zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 commitment into law, making the UK the first G7 country to do so."
While Mr Skidmore said there was ‘no alternative seat’, the bulk of his Kingswood area will now form part of the new Bristol North East constituency, joining with areas within Bristol city like Staple Hill, Hillfields and Downend. This is seen by many across the political spectrum as a safer Labour seat, and indeed the current Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, recently announced that he was throwing his hat into the ring to seek to be the first Labour candidate standing in the newly-created seat at the next General Election.
Mr Skidmore said when he steps down from being the last Kingswood MP, he would continue to focus on tackling climate change. “It is the delivery of this Net Zero commitment that I now wish to focus my career upon after leaving Parliament,” he said. “Recently, I have sought to ensure that Net Zero has been supported by every Prime Minister. Over the past three months, I have been leading an independent review into Net Zero for the government, for which I have spoken directly with over a thousand organisations and businesses across the country on how we can deliver a clean energy transition in the most effective way possible.
“It is clear to me that Net Zero and tackling climate change will be the greatest challenge, yet also the greatest opportunity, of our generation. It is this opportunity - to demonstrate how we must protect our environment and climate for the future, at the same time as delivering a new clean and sustainable energy system that shifts us all away from fossil fuels - that I now wish to devote my attention to. Rather than step aside, I hope that in the future I can step up to continue to play my own small part in helping to deliver on the energy transition that the world needs,” he added.
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