Sussex MP Nick Gibb stepping down after 26 years
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In a social media statement on Monday morning (November 13), he wrote: “I’ve written to my association chairman this morning to tell her that I will not stand for re-election at the next election. It has been a privilege to represent the people of Bognor Regis and Littlehampton for the last 26 years.”
Mr Gibb’s shock announcement comes amid news that James Cleverly will replace Suella Braverman as home secretary, with David Cameron making a sensational comeback as foreign secretary during a cabinet reshuffle.
Mr Gibb wrote: “Over the last few weeks I have been discussing taking up a diplomatic role after the general election. To enable me to do so I have asked the Prime Minister if I can step down from the government at the reshuffle and he has agreed.
“It has been a privilege to serve as schools minister for four Prime Ministers. I campaigned for Rishi [Sunak] last Summer and I remain an enthusiastic supporter of the Prime Minister’s leadership.
“I am proud that over my ten years as a minister standards in schools have risen. England is fourth in the world in reading as a result of the phonics reforms and we are rising internationally for maths and English. We have transformed the curriculum so that it is knowledge rich.
“The multiplication test for nine-year olds means more children know their tables than ever before. The new more rigorous maths GCSE means better preparation for A level, now the most popular A level choice.”
In a letter to Jacky Pendelton, chairman of the Bognor Regis and Littlehampton Conservative Association, Mr Gibb said it has been an ‘honour and a privilege’ to represent the people of Bognor Regis and Littlehampton in Parliament’.
He added: “I have enjoyed every moment as a constituency MP, getting to know thousands of people who live in this wonderful stretch of West Sussex.
"The two seaside towns and the villages in between and beyond are home to hard-working, generous spirited people who I admire and have been proud to represent.
"Strong ties of community and civic pride unite the constituency. The volunteers who selflessly give up their time to help others, who run associations and clubs and the thousands of small and medium sized businesses that are the life blood of the community make this small part of Sussex very special. There is nowhere else I’d rather call home.”
Mr Gibb said he ‘always sought to represent’ everyone, ‘regardless of whether they voted for me or support me’, adding: “I’ve tried my best to help people with their particular issues and problems.
"Modern life is complicated, where a lazy response by an uncaring official with bureaucratic or commercial authority can so easily frustrate or blight the lives of individuals seeking their help.
"Challenging that insouciance and providing support for people facing such problems is something I have, over the years, relished and made a personal priority. I look back with pride and some personal satisfaction that I have been able to help smooth paths and bring people together to help resolve problems. I cherish and rejoice at the friendships I have made throughout the constituency.”
At the age of 63, Mr Gibb said he ‘still has the energy and commitment’ to continue public service.
"In recent weeks, a new opportunity to serve the country in a diplomatic role has arisen. It would be something that would offer me a new intellectual challenge and I am honoured to be considered for the role by the Prime Minister, whose leadership I support with great enthusiasm.”