MP to retire after long career in parliament

Semi final and final of debating comp for schools in the area with MP Charles Hendry, St Bede's Senior School
Semi final and final of debating comp for schools in the area with MP Charles Hendry, St Bede's Senior School

Hailsham’s MP, Charles Hendry, is set to step down from his role at the next General Election.

Mr Hendry plans to turn his back on politics after more than 20 years as a member of Parliament, including representing the Wealden district since 2001.

The former Conservative energy portfolio holder will now take the two years until the next general election to decide what to do once he leaves the political arena.

In that time his successor and next Tory candidate for the area will be chosen.

The 53-year-old said: “It is still two years until the next general election so I’m still very much committed until then but I chose to announce it now so it gives me a chance to look around at what to do next and for the constituency to find someone to take over.”

He added: “What I’ve wanted to achieve in politics I’ve been lucky to do.

“An awful lot of work as an MP, and where I see my achievements, is in individual cases when people have come into the surgeries or people have written to me. I’ve had lovely messages from people I’ve been able to help.

“On a larger scales the biggest change has been in the rail service, which has seen a huge difference in Uckfield from were it was when I became a minister 12 years ago.

“The whole experience has greatly improved for commuters with more carriages and better parking but the longer term I still want to see a link reinstated to Lewes.”

Mr Hendry became an MP for the High Peak in 1992, and has contested every General Election for 30 years.

He held the Conservative energy portfolio for longer than anyone else, including four-and-a-half years in opposition and almost two-and-a-half years as Minister of State. He also served as deputy chairman of the Conservative Party.

He announced his decision to retire from politics in a letter to the members of his Constituency Association, in which he wrote about the privilege of being MP in the area where he was brought up and has lived for most of his life.

He said: “It was a great privilege to be a Minister in Government, but the greatest honour of all was to be MP for this very special constituency, which will continue to be our home.”

He has vowed will continue to work for his constituents until the end of the current Parliament.