Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw to step down at next general election
The Labour MP for Exeter, Ben Bradshaw, has announced ‘with considerable sadness’ that he will be stepping down from his role at the next general election.
Mr Bradshaw made the announcement on Twitter, saying it was ‘time to pass on the baton.’ The 61-year-old has been the MP for Exeter for 25 years and is renowned in the local area for walking and cycling everywhere. He is the only Labour MP in Devon and gained the Exeter seat in 1997 after nearly 30 years of a Conservative Party hold. He was only the second MP to be openly gay at the time of an election. In the 2019 general election, he won with a majority of over 10,000.
“The time feels right to pass the baton on.”
In a statement on his website he said: “I will be 62 this year. If I fought the next election and won, I could be pushing 70 by the end of the next Parliament.
“So, with the Labour Party now in excellent hands with Keir Starmer’s leadership and in very good shape here in Exeter, the time feels right to pass the baton on.
“I’d like to thank, from the bottom of my heart, the people of Exeter and members of Exeter Labour Party for all their love and support over the years and my friends and family, especially my husband Neal, for sustaining me through the rigours of public life.”
Before standing as an MP, Mr Bradshaw had a career in journalism reporting for the local Exeter newspaper, the Express & Echo, before working for local and national BBC radio. In his career as an MP, he was involved in moving the Met Office to Exeter to help provide jobs in the area, as well as helping to establish a new medical school and five new high schools in the city. He also served as a Minister for a number of departments including Health, the Foreign Office, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and Culture Media and Sport.
“As one of the first openly LGBT+ MPs elected, he was an inspiration to so many.”
Anne Marie Morris, a Conservative MP for Newton Abbot tweeted: “As a fellow Devon MP, Ben has always been good to work with over the last 12 years (even when we’ve disagreed!) – he will be missed.”
The leader of the Labour Party, Sir Keir Starmer, also tweeted his praise for Mr Bradshaw. He said: “Ben has been a tireless advocate for Exeter, and for the Labour Party, both locally and nationally. As one of the first openly LGBT+ MPs elected, he was an inspiration to many. He’ll be much missed when he retires but I know he’ll keep sprinting (or cycling) to the finish.”
Mr Bradshaw will remain the MP for Exeter until the next general election – due to take place in 2024. He said that he expected a new Labour candidate to be announced by this summer.
He added: “It’s a prime Labour seat in the south of England, there aren’t very many of those, so I’m sure there will be a lot of good candidates who put their names forward.”